Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have arrived to that time of year in my job that I festively call: Hell Month. It is so named because it’s the word I use most often when speaking to people.


To my email inbox: “Who the hell is this idiot?”

To my boss who has caused a problem: “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

To no one, because everyone is scared of me now: “Where the hell are those folders?”

To my Ben & Jerry’s, at night, instead of the gym: “When the hell is all this crap going to end?”

To my friends, at the bar, over a pina colada: “Why the hell should I care again?”

To a student, who merely asked me how get her on graduation list after deadline/submit paperwork after a deadline/do anything after a deadline: “How the hell am I supposed to do that? Do I look like [BLEEP] Harry Potter to you?”


As you may have surmised, I make a lot of friends in the month of May. I also drink a lot. And at the end of each day, even if I’ve managed to get outside and walk around the block or go to the gym, I have sincere trouble sitting in front of my computer monitor to type the latest shenanigans and banter between my hero and heroine. The thought of using any more brain power to wrestle with the mysteries of the universe and form them into a book format makes me want to go to bed and sleep for twelve hours.


Now I grant you, my life could be much worse and much more stressed out. I am grateful it is not. Really all I want to do is make it through the month of May without doing any of the following: a) get arrested; b) get thrown into the looney bin; c) get fired; d) up my depression medicine; e) actually turn into an alcoholic; f) alienate all my friends and family; and g) all the above. (And actually this stress level will continue until about the end of June, but I only want to think about one month at a time.)


I certainly don’t want to take off writing for the month of May just because by 5 pm every night I’m a living vegetable. I should be able to write a couple of pages each day no matter what, even if they aren’t great pages. Yet, some days, opening that file and staring at the blinking cursor, there are no words.


What do you do when there are no words?


RWR’s magazine this month had a Well-Writer article about meditation and writing. Fortunately the author knew her audience well because she didn’t ask for any special incense or time commitments. Ten minutes and you could sit on the couch if you wanted. You just closed your eyes, breathed deeply, and focused on not thinking. I figured I should be awesome at this because by 9 pm on any given day, my brain is repeating this same chant: Uhhhhhhhhh. Which isn’t so much a chant as it is the flatlining sound that the heart machine makes when you die. Not off to a great start in my opinion.


But I figure it can’t hurt. I seem able to zone out in the middle of a Castle episode on any given night and not have a thought in my head, so the absolute silence should be a nice change of pace. And it’s only for ten minutes. If it doesn’t work out, I can always go to bed. But if it does work, then my brain should reboot, if you will, and I should be able to crank out a couple pages before putting it all to bed. Good pages. Not pages like: Adam sees Eve run. Adam likes the way her boobs bounce. Adam chases. No offense to anyone who likes Dick and Jane books...or whatever I think I'm mocking.


Anyway, even though I’ve made my goals for Maywrapimo month, 30,000 words/4 pages a day, I am adding that nightly 10 minute meditation, mainly because if I don’t, I won’t be writing anything at all.


Do any of you belong to RWA and get the RWR each month? Do you read the articles? If you do, have you liked their theme this year for the Well-Writer? And have you implemented any of their suggestions?


2nd Chance said...

I thought it was a very good magazine this month. I read every article in the Well-Writer section. And I read the bit about the libraries lending 3-books and tne article on book to film... I read more of the mag this month than I normally read!

I like the theme this year and I find the changes they are talking about for the organization interesting...

The article on The Power of Belief was awesome...

Sorry 'bout the stress, Cap'n. I'll whip up a batch of the Captain's No-Calorie Cocoa Brownies for ya!

Quantum said...

Sorry you're feeling stressed Helli!

My answer to the questions:
Makes a better mantra than Uhhhhhhhhh as it has rythm!

I do get a bit stressed with work at times but in the evening I just slump in a big arm chair, Mrs Q mops my brow and fills my scotch tumbler, and I listen to music. I'm not much for religion, but religious music can be wonderfully soothing. Try some of Palestrina's polyphonic masses, or Josquin des Pres.

If that's too old fashioned I recommend some early rock.

How about Bill Halley's 'rock around the clock' or 'see you later alligator'. If that doesn't wipe your mind and get those hips swinging then I fear 'y'aint nuthin but a hound dog'.

In case your wondering, My Grand is teaching me to Jive 8)

Marnee said...

Good luck with May at work, Hells. I hope you get it all sorted out. Things slow down for you in the summer though, right?

Marnee said...

Sorry about the stress too. What a killer.

I do belong to RWA and I do get RWR but I haven't read a magazine in a while. I never seem to have the time to just sit down with it. I skim, most of the time, to see if there's anything to help me out. But I might not even have skimmed this month. :(

What I have been reading is the class material for this course I'm taking and I swear, it's opened up my brain. I've revisited stuff I'd originally axed and I'm going to go back and revise with my new vision in mind. So, currently, I've got about 20K that's revised and another 20K that needs to be revised. So by the end of the month, I'm hoping to have at least 40K that's usable.

Sorry.... I just needed to squeal and share my excitement. Not really appropriate in an "I'm stressed" post, maybe.

As an aside and somewhat related, I'm starting a yoga thing this month. It seems to be working too, stretching and whatnot. Are you still taking yoga?

Donna said...

Hellion, it sounds like your Hell Month is akin to the Christmas holidays for us retail folks. :) It's fun for everybody EXCEPT those doing the work.

Maybe if you view the writing as a retreat from the madness, rather than another chore that must be accomplished. It sounds like your characters are people you would PREFER to hang with, so that would be something to look forward to, if only to get you away from the daily craziness you deal with.

I used to work at a place where we would do some "mindful meditation" before we started meetings, conferences, etc. I find it tricky because I have what is known as "monkey mind" -- LOL -- it's always jumping around and it's hard to get it to be quiet. I guess that's why I like writing, because that's when I get it to focus on fewer things at a time. :)

Bosun said...

We don't have up and down months at the day job, but April and May have been crazier for some reason. I've been operating on a "working behind" mode for about two years and that sure makes for a long day.

I also have the "brain fried by five" problem, but I have to get this thing moving. FINALLY found my new opening yesterday so I'm now sitting at a whopping 600 words. Not exactly major momentum, but it's better than the 0 I was back down to. LOL!

Add me to the "monkey mind" club, though I never knew that's what it was called. LOL! My brain is never quiet unless I'm actually sleeping. I remember in HS we had to take a meditation class. It was a religion class and I think we were supposed to pray, but it was a one hour nap each day in the chapel.

And I still don't have my RWR. I'm starting to get really irritated about this.

Julie said...

No offense to anyone who likes Dick and Jane books…or whatever I think I’m mocking.

You were Mocking something? Well heck I thought that you were just explaining ... a man's reason for running marathons... why women should wear sports bras ... why ...

Hellion said...

2nd: I can definitely use some calorie-free brownies today. :) I have some paperwork to do. :)

I loved the Belief article! Very spot on without being too New-Age-Wookie.

I don't get the library loan e-books article. I've heard that some of the publishers are only giving licenses that last for about 26 "check outs", which is supposed to be the same time period a book would survive at a library. I think it's crap. *LOL* The article also said that the publishers think of libraries as sorts of benign pirates. REALLY? It makes me so frustrated.

Hellion said...

Q, unfortunately I don't have a Mrs. Q to wipe my brow, fill my scotch tumbler, or commiserate what a crappy day I'm having. Though Deerhunter did call me one night and made soothing noises as I complained about work--so that was very nice.

What I do find relaxing is lounging on my couch and reading a book. It's like a nap almost. Though sometimes it goes from reading to a nap! *LOL*

I love soothing music, but sometimes I like the silence more. :) Esp after hearing noise all day.

Right now I'm reading Eileen Dreyer's Never a Gentleman. I'm really, really enjoying her writing. I'm not sure how much I believe in a man falling in love with a "plain" woman, esp since I'm in the middle of a class about Men and how they talk and think, but I do love the fantasy that they might fall in love with a plain woman. :)

Hellion said...

What I have been reading is the class material for this course I’m taking and I swear, it’s opened up my brain. I’ve revisited stuff I’d originally axed and I’m going to go back and revise with my new vision in mind. So, currently, I’ve got about 20K that’s revised and another 20K that needs to be revised. So by the end of the month, I’m hoping to have at least 40K that’s usable.

THAT IS WONDERFUL!! Definitely squeal about it! I love when classes open up a new way of thinking and rejuvenate the writing process!! I hope you'll share more about what you're learning in the class. It sounds great! I will have to definitely take it in August.

I can't say I have your level of stress with having kids around all day--I had one 4 year old for two days this weekend--and I was like, "How does anyone get stuff done?" 3 minutes is like an eon to them. It must be exhausting to be a Cruise Director all day, trying to entertain people who get bored at the drop of a hat. And for that matter, how do teachers keep kids focused for more than 10 minutes at a time or how do they teach what they must in only a few minutes that they have the attention? YEESH!

Scapegoat said...

I hate being stressed out and feel your pain. I mentioned yoga before, and I'll mention it again becuase it really did totally change my life.

There are also many different ideas on what meditation is and in reality it's different for everyone - not all meditation needs to be the clear the mind kind. I occassionally do what I call meditating and it's me spending 5-10 minutes thinking only of those things that make me happy, smile or things that I've accomplished and feel good about.

It always brings me to realize how much there is NOT to stress out about.

For another possibly inappropriate YAY comment, I passed 30k this weekend! Wrote almost 2k in 2 days and really felt the story open up for me. (Once I finally got past that love scene that would not end!)

Hellion said...

Donna, it's very much like Christmas. *LOL* Fun for everyone but the Elves....

I would like to treat this more as a retreat, but I literally am brain dead by 9 pm. I almost need to work on doing a reverse, but being awake at 5 am to write would be laughable. Even if I did go to bed at 9 pm every night. I hear of lots of authors who do that, just for the reason I described: brain dead by 9 by other job, but I've always been such a night owl. Early mornings feel impossible.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to learn a new trick whether I like it or not.

Hellion said...

I’ve been operating on a “working behind” mode for about two years and that sure makes for a long day.

I hope you're not blaming me for this. *LOL* Fine, fine, I'll stop emailing!

You should talk to someone about your RWR subscription. *LOL* Yeesh! How can I talk about these articles if you never get yours!?

I'm taking vitamin D again. I swear it causes almost instant improvement. At least I feel slightly more alert and less cranky than last week.

Scapegoat said...

On a side note, I'm always wondering about the RWR and how useful it is since I'm not an RWA member yet and that's one of the benefits. Interesting to see that some read it and some don't.

Bosun said...

I almost always flip through my RWR. Not all articles are going to apply to all writers, simply because I don't need the hardcore marketing or tax/business stuff yet. But the articles that apply to me are worth it.

WTG on the 30K Scape! That means you're about halfway through, right? You're flying into the home stretch now.

I've upped my Vit D to 5000 a day and it's made a big difference. If I ever manage to add in the exercise, I might be unstoppable. LOL! Also couldn't get up and do the early morning writing. My brain does not work first thing in the morning, no matter what time I get out of bed.

Marnee said...

I was like, “How does anyone get stuff done?” 3 minutes is like an eon to them.

Um, I don't know? hahahaha!! I swear, I don't know where my day goes between, "Mommy can I have some juice?" and "WAAAHHHH!!" (which translates to I'm bored/my brother pushed me/I need a nap/someone feed me right now!).

Some days I feel like Wonder Woman. Other times I feel like someone put kryptonite in my coffee. It's a mixed bag. LOL!!

And of course I'll share my epiphanies. I've got lots of fodder! :)

Hellion said...

Jules, I know you always think I'm always serious and never mocking. I enjoy that so much about our friendship. *LOL*

And that and it's evident I'm really enjoying that Men Talk class I'm taking. All I keep thinking is: "Men really are pathetic, aren't they?"

Hellion said...

Scapegoat, CONGRATS on the writing!!! And totally feeling ya about the love scenes that never end! Ugh! I'm sure yours are great though. Happy writing!

Hellion said...

Scapegoat, your happy meditation sounds like the Bali meditation that is talked about in Eat, Pray, Love. *LOL* Where the Bali teacher was all about smiling and practice being happy. Yoga was so serious... *LOL*

I need to do more yoga. You know how it is when you have a great teacher...and then they go away and it all sucks? Yeah, that's what happened. I don't know what to do now. Probably just woman up and stop whining about it and do it myself, but gosh, that would require me to stop whining about it! *LOL*

Hellion said...

Marn, I was telling my niece (the one who gave birth to the cute 4 year old): "I feel guilty when she says, 'Auntie, will you pway wi'h me?'" My niece said, "I do NOT have this problem. She says it all day long. She can entertain herself occasionally." *LOL*

So the last half of Saturday was the adults being mean to her. "Go play by yourself. You have chalk. You have bubbles. You have a ball. Go outside!"

I must invest in a lawn chair so I can at least sit outside and read while she played.

First day at the park, I played on the swing, I went down slides, I blew bubbles, I played Troll--the whole bit--but the 2nd day at the park, I saw in a tire and read my book. "Go down the slide again. Go play in the sand."

Bosun said...

I think we see who the real brat is in this scenario. LOL! I don't remember kiddo being so time consuming at that age, but then I had a day job where I spent all day saying silly things to people on the radio. I'm sure I've blocked out the tougher days. :)

Hellion said...

I hope you're not suggesting me. I played! I read books! I even let her help make the pancakes when it would have been easier to say, "Go back in the living room and watch cartoons" which is what my mother would have done.

There was even the moment when we were finally in the living room and I thought I could eat my meal in peace and she said, "Auntie, you said you would put blueberries on my pancake, but you didn't." Mind you, she has enough strawberries on the thing to choke a horse, but now Auntie's a big fat liar. "You're right. Let's go get some."

Bosun said...

Sounds safe to say the 4yo was running the show. I have come to love the phrase "Because I said so." Drives Kiddo bonkers, but I know the day will come when she has her own kids and she'll call me to share the love of that phrase.

Hellion said...

Of course the 4 yr old was running the show. Mom kept her in line as much as possible; mom will NOT put up with misbehavior. Mostly the kid is so sweet tempered, you're willing to be led around. But she pouts in the most hilarious manner.

Dad and I snort the same way when we see her pout. Like "Good try, but we won't fall for it."

2nd Chance said...

Well, this week may be stressfilled but we're also celebrating some writing progress! Yeah, Bo'sun! Yeah, Scape! Yeah, Marnee!

And yeah for bubbles!

I had a great yoga teacher and then she moved, so I know the agony of just sorta...not doing yoga anymore after she left. Sigh.

P. Kirby said...

May is the beginning of art show season, so I'm totally frazzled. Especially since I haven't managed to make anything new and the first show is this coming weekend. Argh!

b) get thrown into the looney bin;
Me thinks some time in the crazy house might be just the ticket for me. No dogs to walk; horses to care for; art to make; gardens to tend; boring-ass job; editing; household chores, and the assortment of things I forget to do.

Just a nice padded room and some happy-fun drugs. Wheeeee!

Hellion said...

P--organizing those types of things must be like orchestrating weddings all the time. You want everything to be lovely and perfectly precisioned, but also that everyone has a good time and remembers it fondly. It takes a certain sort of person to have the patience for that. Kudos to you! And good luck!!

And happy-fun drugs should never be turned down.

Also: amen to no boring-ass job. *LOL*

Quantum said...

I’m not sure how much I believe in a man falling in love with a “plain” woman, esp since I’m in the middle of a class about Men and how they talk and think, but I do love the fantasy that they might fall in love with a plain woman. :)

Helli,I once had a colleague (theoretical scientist) who married a brilliant mathematician. I can't mention names because to most people she looked like the back of a bus. To him though, she was beautiful.

I rather think that for some, the meeting of minds comes first and 'conventional' beauty is a plus but not essential.

Isn't that how Internet dating works? You have a meeting of minds first, then you meet physically. If she speaks poetry then the guy doesn't notice the wrinkles! :lol:

Hellion said...

I can’t mention names because to most people she looked like the back of a bus.

I'll get back to you when I've stopped mopping my monitor for soda spewage.

I'm glad she found true love and he did not think she looked like the back of a bus. *LOL*

In theory that is how internet dating works, though I've yet to have it turn out that way--and I think a lot of us have had a hard time getting it to turn out that way. We may be trying to date a little shallower end of the dating pool, perhaps, I'm not sure. :) But a meeting of the minds is essential; and I think when men get older and more mature, they begin to see the value of a girl who is witty and handsome, but isn't necessarily young and drop-dead gorgeous.

Di R said...

Hellion~ Sorry it's a stressful time. I used to have a quote on my wall, "Poor planning on your part does not necessarily create an emergency for me." I can't remember who said it though.

I'm a member of RWA and I do read my RWR. Most months I really enjoy it, but there are occasions when it doesn't seem to pertain to me. However I really liked this month's. I've underlined some of things that seemed like they were written for me.

Bosun~Call the RWA headquarters and let them know you didn't receive it. They'll send another one.


Bosun said...

Thanks, Di. It still is not here and I'm most put out since everyone keeps raving about this issue. But I might not have gotten last months either. (Maybe they're getting me back for the hateful email I sent in March. Hmmm...)

No, Q, that is not how internet dating works. I wish it did. I know my cousin has often gotten the "He married YOU?" reaction. Her hubby is a former Navy SEAL who bore a striking resemblence to Tom Cruise in his younger days. My cousin is exactly what Hellie is talking about, the plain girl.

But they're still together nearly 25 years later and living proof that it does happen. :) (And I would never call this man enlightened, so don't be thinking he's some manicorn, he isn't. LOL!)

Di R said...


I called last year when mine didn't come and the lady I spoke to was very nice. But don't wait too long, or they won't have any more. (That's what happened to me.) Also you can read it online. After you log on to the RWA national site it's in a box at the top.


Bosun said...

I would read it online but I'm already on the computer doing other stuff, I need to have it in hand. I'll make the call tomorrow! I had to call them about something else a month or so ago and they are very helpful.

Hellion said...

“Poor planning on your part does not necessarily create an emergency for me.”

Di, I frequently have this as a quote on my outgoing mail, but no one takes me seriously whenever I quote it. *LOL*

I feel that way about some of the RWR articles this year: this was written just for me!! *LOL*

2nd Chance said...

Hey, if my 70+ MIL could find a guy on-line... There must be a way! And no, he isn't a gigolo...and they've been together better than 10 years now!