Friday, November 05, 2010

You Know You're A Geek When...

Back in October I started a new story featuring a Sandman named Nocturne. But that's not what we're talking about today. You see, when I write, I write oldschool. I think I've mentioned this before, but in case you missed it, I'm not talking about typewriters. I mean oldschool, oldschool.

I write with a pencil and a notebook. That's right. A pencil. But it's not just any pencil. It's the Pentel Techniclick II. Oh yeah.

I first discovered these mechanical pencils back in college. I think. It really has been a long time. Maybe I found them in high school. Wherever it was, I quickly realized that these weren't the typical mechanical pencils. Oh no. These babies were the best mechanical pencils on the planet. 8 out of 10 times if I dropped the pencil, the lead didn't break. They were comfortable, I liked the way they wrote, and even though I always ended up snapping off part of the cap so I'd never be able to hang it on a pocket (oh wah, big deal), they were basically flawless in my eyes.

I'd even introduced them to my father who quickly came to the same realization I did. The Pentel Techniclick II was awesome. Even he noticed that the lead never seemed to break when the pencil was dropped. So it wasn't just me.

So big dea, it's a mechanical pencil. True - except then Pentel stopped making them.

*cue horror movie scream*

So what the heck am I doing talking about a pencil that you can't even buy? Well, sure, it does suck to be you, but this just goes to show that if you're like me and love to write the super oldschool way, how much of a total geek you are when something like this happens:

Out of a mix of emotions and being on a customer service contacting kick, I emailed Pentel and basically told them that I thought they'd made a huge mistake in ending their production of the Techniclick II. I explained that nothing else since has ever compared (true) and that I hadn't purchased a new pencil since my last purchase of Techniclick IIs which was during college around the 2005 mark (true). I was down to my last 0.7 pencil (the others having disappeared in some fashion and my 0.5 pencil had broken after being in my purse (my fault). I said that I didn't know what I was going to do if my 0.5 pencil went bye-bye.

So it was part complaint, part reprimand, part praise. And we all know that these people never respond.

Except in this case. I received an email from Pentel from their customer service head honcho saying that, naturally, they were sorry for not making the Techniclick II anymore but guess what? She'd found some in a warehouse just hanging out and would I like some sent to me for free?

OMGYESPLZNOW. Pretty much sums up my reaction. She'd even asked what size I preferred, 0.7 or 0.5. I like 0.7 but said I'd take whatever they had because I was beyond the point of caring about specifics at that point. As long as I got some, I would be happy as a clam.

Sure enough, a handful of days later I got six (six!) Techniclick II Pentel pencils in the mail, all bright and shiny and new. I gave three to my dad and kept three for myself. It was like Christmas came early. I think the customer service woman probably thought I had issues becuase of how many times I thanked her and how excited I was.

But honestly, when you get free stuff in the mail and you really love it, what's not to be excited about? And these pencils? I'm in writer heaven.

Photobucket My name is Nicole T. and I am a total geek.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

When It Hits You

At around 12:20am, I was moseying around online (since late at night is the only time I have to myself these days - or at least it seems like it) and checking various blogs. I saw a new post over at BookEnds, LLC and decided to read it.

It's a great post. It's all about agents (or at least in this case, Jessica Faust) being all yippy-skippy about when calling an author for representation and/or about a book deal with a publisher. The pause when the author might scream with amazement or joy. Or do the "telephone happy dance" (my favorite part of that post). Even better, she showed the agent's excitement on the other end. Actually waiting for the author to phone back with (hopefully) a yes. Then she wants to scream and do the telephone happy dance. It was a really nice look into an agent's side of things and made a lot of people smile and laugh, myself included.

I even left a comment about how one day I hoped to have an agent as excited about me as she gets about her clients.

And then I thought about it a little.

And then I got a little bummed out.

And then I just burst into tears.

I sat here in front of my computer, head in my hands, and cried. Because I don't have an agent that's excited about me or my work. Because I'm tired. Just tired. Normally I'm the one who tosses aside rejection letters and tries again. Because I know rejection is just a part of the writing life. And I'm always saying, "I don't care if I'm 90 years old - I'm getting published!"

But I got that dark, bottomless pit feeling inside me at that very moment. No one wants me. No one loves my writing. And the worst of it is, I haven't even been waiting as long as some people. I know I haven't. But I've been working my fingers to the bone, money is frighteningly tight around here, and I've barely had any time to write for myself for the past several months.

And I'm tired.

Still, it's good to get that out once and a while. I cried and sniffled for a good twenty minutes or so. I'm sure once I hit the hay and get a good rest (if possible - I never did like my mattress), I'll wake up refreshed and ready to go again and be able to look at the future with hope and eagerness.

I think I'd better do that.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Shutting Down the Internal Editor

I'm actually writing this in October, but since the Writing Meme is going on, I figured it would be best just to program it to show up in November to avoid double-posts.

Anywho, at the time I was cruising through the Absolute Write blog update forum and found this blog entry. It's pretty hard not to relate to that letter. Internal editor getting in the way all the time, pointing out stuff that's wrong, deadlines, all sorts of annoying crap. I know, the whole internal editor thing and the way we writers react to it makes it sound like we have multiple personalities, but I'd like to point something out to you.

First of all, if you didn't think we had multiple personalities before hearing the way we talk about internal editors makes me wonder about you. We have dozens of characters bouncing around our heads all the time, and it takes an internal editor bit to make you voice such concerns? Geezo.

Second of all, most writers, when asked, will mention something about an internal editor and often include how it's a bitch. It's like there's this other little part of your brain reminding you of all this other junk while you're just trying to write and get the freakin' words on the page. Maybe it's left brain vs. right. I don't know. What I do know is that it is possible to shut it down.

While Ms. Morrigan wrote a letter, I left a comment on her blog stating that writing letters to my internal editor doesn't work. She ignores them. Likewise, talking to her and telling her to shut up doesn't work. I've had to resort to more drastic measures to put her in her place.

When working on most books, she was never a problem. I'd just breeze on through, la-de-da. But that was before I went to Seton Hill and discovered everything WRONG with my writing. Suddenly my internal editor didn't suck at her job (if she even existed in the first place) and had plenty of cool new rules and regulations to implement. So once I began to write my newest manscript, she wouldn't shut up. Let me repeat that: My internal editor would NOT SHUT UP. I rewrote the beginning at least five times. I actually lost count. I struggled with word choice, created scenes that refused to work. Could not decide upon proper names. Nothing was perfect, and that was the problem.

First drafts are crap, to be base about it. They're the ideas slapped down without everything being perfect. That's what revision is for. We all know this. Revision is for fine tuning those good ideas, tweaking scenes or cutting them, and fixing up all the spelling and grammar we goofed on the first time around. My internal editor, however, kept insisting everything be perfect the first time. There is no chance of this happening. Ever.

Finally, after asking some advice from people, I visualized my internal editor, got a little violent, and stuffed her in a cage and put a lock on it. It sounds ridiculous, but visualization helps. It worked. I was still writing junk, mind you, but at least the thoughts were getting onto the paper. I could fix everything later like I was supposed to. It was still a little tough at the beginning because I was still uncertain about the opening, but at least I'd finally jumped into it and got the story rolling.

So do what you have to in order to shut down your internal editor so you can actually get some writing done. Write a letter, do some mental pep-talking, or be like me and just shove her in a damn box and refuse to let her out until you're good and ready for her to come back out and do her job.