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Cut Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What's it like to be a writer?

        The following was posted on the Baen's Bar bulleting board by author John Ringo, who's struggling with writer's block at the moment:

        So, for reasons found elsewhere, I've been looking at Con websites.  And out of interest I scanned a couple of writer bios.

        Now, I've seen a bunch of bios.  "Peter Moviemaker was born in Detroit, MI in 1946, six months to the day after his Dad got back from four years overseas in the Big Red One.  He's been in a hurry ever since..."  But there seems to be a trend towards "chatty" bios.  "Hi, I'm Alice Waterfeld.  I'm sitting here on my porch writing this and thinking about the wonderful people who are reading about me and just thrilled to death to be talking to you through this medium..."

        So the little voice started.  Now, psychotics call this the "inner narrator" and when the inner narrator starts talking, the nice guys in white coats give them drugs.  But I'm an author, so I call it the muse and people give me money instead of drugs...

        So the inner narrator started telling me I should do a chatty bio, people seem to like that...

IN: "You should do a chatty bio.  People seem to like that."

Real Me: "How do you know?  I mean, they're on the website but that doesn't mean people like them.  I was personally bored to tears.  What's wrong with 250 words or less?  Do I really have to know that their cat recently died of syphilis?"

IN: It's the thing, man, do a chatty bio.

RM: I don't know how.  All I know is second person.  "John Ringo was born in 1963 in "Miami-Dade" county."

IN: That's third person.  And quit writing in declarative sentences all the time.  You're trying to sound like Hemingway.

RM: What the fuck ever.  Like I know that shit.  Hell, if I don't know that shit, you don't know that shit, so shut the fuck up.

IN: Come on, do a chatty bio.  I'll ask the questions and you give the answers.  Here we go: So, John, where you from?

RM: No where.  I've never lived anywhere long enough to be _from_ anywhere.  You know that, why the stupid question?

IN: Feeling snippy today, are we?

RM: Of COURSE I'm feeling snippy!  I keep asking you what the fuck happens next in Ghost IV and you keep asking me about "where are you from?  Who influenced you in your writing?  What is a word that rhymes with Orange?"  Come on, dude, tell me what happens next in Ghost IV!  I've got the computer right here!  I can open the file in a second.

IN: No.

RM: What do you mean, "No?"  We've got a deadline!

IN: I don't feel like writing today.

RM: So who's feeling snippy, then?

IN: I'm not feeling snippy, I just feel that the energies aren't aligned right.  Your qua is all mixed up with your Fu.

RM: WHAT?  What the fuck are qua and Fu?  And why is one capitalized and the other isn't?  Dude, I need stuff on the series.  March, dude.  More than a hundred thousand words.  We.  Are.  Running.  Out.  Of.  Time.

IN: Take a shower.

RM: I don't WANT to take a shower.

IN: Get something to eat.  Take a shower.  It will help you align your qua and your Fu.  When your qua and your Fu are aligned, we'll talk.

RM: YOU'RE MAKING THIS SHIT UP AS YOU GO ALONG!!!

IN: (Puzzled voice) Of course I am. That's my job "dude."

RM: Oh, Christ.  You're not going to give in, are you?  Okay.  Lunch it is.  Chinese?

IN: Works.  I wish they had delivery...

        I have no idea why I posted this.  But I thought you should know what is going on in my brain.

        Now I know why I've never been able to write anything.  I need to get my qua and Fu aligned.

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