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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Tortoise Smack

At 3:36 this morning, I was seriously thinking about taking down the blog, giving up on the book, putting the magazine pieces in a scrapbook and returning to civilian life. Possibly in South America under an assumed identity.

Writing a book is hard. Moreover, anyone I try whining to about it just shrugs and agrees that it's hard. It takes me half a day to arrange and rearrange a paltry few hundred words and sometimes days to recover. Then I pick up this week's copy of Entertainment Weekly and learn that bestselling author Nicholas Sparks gets up at 5:30 every morning, works out for two hours, runs for 40 minutes and churns out 2,000 words. Every single motherloving day.

I've never read any of his books, but I might have to buy some now just to deface the author photos and write heckling marginalia. Sucks to your two thousand words, Sparksy. I got two more words for you, pal. Put those in your Notebook.



Blogger amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

I am with ya. I was working hard Dec- May on my novel. I am slowly starting again. it is hard. Harder than other writing to get in the groove. You can email me if you need to vent! :)

9:11 AM  
Blogger KarinaByrne said...

You know how Nicholas Sparks can churn out 2,000 words a day? Because all 2,000 of them are complete and utter crap. Worst writer out there. So you rest assured that taking the time to craft a few hundred well-chosen and beautiful words -- as you have done so many times in this blog -- is worth the pain.

9:28 AM  
Blogger KinnicChick said...

karinabyrne is absolutely right. Hang in there. When you write from the gut it can be a slow and painful process.

10:38 AM  
Blogger lar said...

I've read a book by Nicholas Sparks, and it doesn't surprise me in the least that he can write so much in one day.

Hang in there--it will be worth the effort.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

That was funny, Kyran... made my day. (And I am allowed to laugh, because I have felt and know your pain.)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I have read Nicholas Sparks, but only because I found it left behind in a rental condo on vacation once, and I had NOTHING else to read. It was mildly entertaining, similar to a made-for-TV movie or a lighter-hearted soap opera. (Not as entertaining as, say, a tabloid magazine or the list of side effects with a prescription.) Nothing like the beautiful, heartfelt, funny, moving things you write. Believe me, quantity does not equal quality. Sparksy's got nothing on you, babe! Keep up the hard work - we all love to read what you write!!

12:52 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

Sparks may write 2,000 a day, but just how much of that does he have to go back and edit out or completely trash altogether? Perhaps all of it.

You'll hit your groove. And by God, don't compare yourself to others. You are unique, unlike anyone else.

Buck up little trooper!!

6:25 PM  
Blogger lenniekat said...

what a handful of good vibes on your blog - lucky you! wine this week - thursday? whine and wine? sounds like good medicine. much love -

7:40 PM  
Blogger Misbehaving said... dear....are no Nicholas Sparks!

And that's a good thing!!

CHURNING out 2000 words a day is not writing, ask any Industrial Engineer.

You don't write to make a deadline, or to hit a word number, you write because you have something to say and you feel like if you don't get the words out soon you'll explode!

Write with a smile on your face, not a grimmace.

6:41 AM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

Wow! all these comments should be on the cover of your new book...
It's hard , all beautiful structures are....

6:47 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Have you read Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird?" It's a great book about the writing process and how craptacular it can be. Don't give up! (Or at least, don't take down the blog! : ) And screw Nicholas Sparks.)

8:22 AM  
Blogger KarinaByrne said...

This was in today's New York Post. This is a perfect example of what a hack he is. Rich, yes. Talented, no. He's an idiot.

"October 8, 2008 --

NICHOLAS Sparks - who has 100 million copies of his books in print, including "Message in a Bottle," "Nights in Rodanthe" and his latest, "The Lucky One" - told Marymount College writing program director Lewis Frumkes he can't stand so-called literary writers whose prose seems to scream out, "Look how brilliant I am," instead of just telling a good story. "In my opinion," said Sparks, "Stephen King is without question our greatest writer. No one tells a better story than Stephen." He describes his own books as modern Greek tragedies that put readers through the range of human emotions. "I set out to write a good story with 'The Notebook,' one that would sell 10 million copies and make me rich . . . and I did." He also told Lewis that Disney has already bought his next book to make into a movie. Asked what its title was, Sparks said, "I don't have a title. I haven't even begun to write the book."

8:30 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

The reason it's not hard for Nicholas Sparks to write is that his writing is crap. Don't waste your time reading his stuff.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Who asked you? said...

I have been a lurker on your blog for over a year now and was happy to remain in the shawdows but when I read this post I felt compelled to come out and speak to you. Your current feelings are natural given to success you have experienced lately. It also reminds me of when my kids were just about to learn to read, write ,master the mutiplication tables etc.... Just before they had success they would fall into a funk and say "I hate this. It is too hard". Each time I would know that we needed to back off and let them have fun for awhile. Sure enough after a few days said kid would suddenly appear in the doorway and say "Hey look what I can do". It would be the thing they were days before ready to give up on. So my point is maybe you should have a little fun. Your way with words is amazing and you should never forget that. It is your gift.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

My experience is that my perspective on my life, myself, and the whole (to borrow your term) motherloving world is really skewed toward the nihilistic between the hours of 3-4 a.m. So take a walk on this beautiful fall evening (it's great here in FayettNam, I'm guessing it's the same in The Rock) and I bet your perspective with brighten.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Thanks so much, everyone. Your comments have really helped, especially those who have gently suggested I lighten up. I think one of the reasons it's hard is that I miss you guys when I'm alone with my manuscript. Wish I could post it every few paragraphs!


9:27 AM  
Blogger ya ya's mom said...

now that i've been reading more of your blog, sparks has nuttin on you! all of his stuff is the same...all crap! nuff said. write on!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I have been there too, though it's not the hack writers that make me second guess so much. I read a book by Michael Chabon and just marveled at how he was able to weave such... well it's just insanely brilliant stuff. And I had to resist the urge to wipe a booger in the book after realizing, "I think I write pretty decently but I don't even know how to BEGIN to be this brilliant. Maybe I should just quit and sell insurance." But something inside just keeps compelling people like us to deal with the frustration of slowly cranking out as good material as we can possibly muster. Keep with it. :-)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Nicholas Sparks is one of the worst writers out there. The only way he got rich was from slick marketing. The guy is horrible. I read "The Notebook" when it first came out. I STILL want my money back and the three hours I wasted reading his dribble. He cranks out trash year end and year out. I absolutely cringe when I hear anyone refer to him as a writer. I have heard however, that a good writer can learn from bad ones....JUST DON'T WRITE LIKE HIM!!!

5:24 PM  

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