The day the prompt prompted anger

judgemental-cat-isjudging-lolcatI was stuck. Horribly stuck. For two hours, I tried. But nothing. No words. So I turned to Writers Digest for a creative writing prompt. The day’s prompt: Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles by Brian Clems in honor of Chuck Sambuchino’s new humor book, When Clowns Attack.

At first, I figured why not? I’m as stuck as a constipated slug crawling over tar; this is no time to be picky.

I skimmed the page. “Huh,” I thought. “He also wrote When Garden Gnomes Attack.” I just finished that book. It was cute. I was intrigued about this new offering.

Then I saw it. The dangling carrot of a free book for commenting on the prompt. And I could get a second entry if I tweeted about it? Sign me up!

Only I couldn’t.

I couldn’t comment.

I hadn’t logged in to the site.

Okay, I can roll with that. Pretty standard.

Hey, wait. I don’t already have an account? I’ve been visiting this site for years. I’m a magazine subscriber. Am I really that behind?

Okay, I’ll just create an online account.

Wait a minute. Why won’t it create my account? I just registered. I should be able to comment. Wait! Stop taking me back to your stupid Create an Account page! I just did that! Like five times already! You’re killing me, Smalls!

I JUST WANT A CHANCE AT A FREE BOOK!!!!!!

Oh. I’m already logged in. When did that happen?! AND WHY DID YOU KEEP TAKING ME BACK TO YOUR STUPID “CREATE AN ACCOUNT PAGE”?!?!

Okay, I’m back on the right page. I’m logged in. Here we go.

Wait, why is everyone posting their output from the writing prompt? Am I supposed to do that? What if I don’t want to? What am I supposed to post? Theirs are so good. I’ll look like an idiot.

I don’t want to look like an idiot. I already feel stupid and all I did was register! What the hell? WHAT THE FREAKING HELL?

Long story short, I managed to tweet but not comment. If you can, though, you might be randomly selected to receive one of three free books.

Here’s the link again: Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles

Yes, arguably, I shouldn’t even feel like giving this some free press, but it’s not Chuck’s fault that the Writer’s Digest user experience sometimes sucks. (Or maybe it’s just me but right now my right eye is twitching and quite frankly I think I’ve taken enough abuse for one morning.)

Also, I liked Chuck’s book, When Garden Gnomes Attack. Also-also, this blog is about what happens in the life of a writer, and I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only one who’s suffered deep emotional scars at the hands of confusing UX.

So there’s my altruism for the day.

(Looks up “altruism” to make sure I used it correctly. Yup, we’re good.)

Tip 1: Make sure you’re signed in.

Tip 2: Don’t try this at work. It’ll only confuse your fellow cube dwellers.

A Writing Fangirl Confession

LOLcat - Invisible Bow and ArrowI read an article on The Renegade Writer about the seven differences between being a writing fangirl or a real writer by Linda Formichelli.

The point of her article is that ‘fanfolk’ spend more time acting the part of a writer than actually writing. Real writers on the other hand, write.

Of the seven differences she outlines, number 4 hit a nerve in all the right spots.

Anyone looking at you, with your exclamation point tattoo and “Writer at Work” doorknob hanger, would think you are a writer. But…are you actually writing? Don’t delude yourself: A collection of quill pens does not a writer make. – Linda Formichelli

Note: I don’t have an exclamation point tattoo. If you’re gonna go there, go for an interrabang.

It’s the difference between a person who wears a thousand-dollar tracksuit to sit on the couch and another person who hits the pavement for a five-mile run every morning.

I have a confession.

Without knowing it, I was a creative writing fangirl for years.

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The secret to inspiration and the danger of overthinking

LOLcat please to stand byHappiness is when your boss’s boss’s boss asks you what inspires you—and you have no answer.

I experienced this joy a couple of weeks ago. It went like this…

Head Guy: “So what inspires you?”

What I thought: Oh crap. Why don’t I know? I should know. Why is he so bald? Why am I thinking about that? I should say something smart. Oh God, what if I blurt out something about his bald head? I need to say something. Just not about his head. Not the head!”

What I said: “New experiences.”

Yay! I side-stepped all head remarks!

Head Guy: “Huh.”

For two weeks, I was stuck for an answer. So I cruised the Internet to find out what inspires other people.

What I discovered did not make me feel better about myself.

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Holy crap, it’s been three years already?

LOLcat birthdayAs of June 1, Rubber Ducky Copywriter is three years old. I was planning on a big party during which my rubber ducks and I celebrate with cupcakes and champagne, but that has to wait; I have to go to a funeral instead.

But this may be the longest I’ve ever stuck with one project. I’m pretty proud.

Over these three years, I’ve learned more than I did over the first year (math is finally working in my favor). Here’s where I impart questionable wisdom and so-so insights for those of you who blog or who’re still thinking about it…

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5 Creative Myths, Busted

unrealistic idealsI’ll be the first to admit that I’m sometimes insecure as a writer. But lately, I’ve had some eye-opening conversations with my fellow creatives.

Guess what I kept hearing…

Everyone else seems so calm, cool and collected. I’m always so nervous.

How do people come up with this stuff? They’re so creative.

I thought I was the only one who said dumb things.

Everyone else is so interesting. I’m so boring.

These are all educated, experienced professionals. Top-notch professionals whom I greatly admire. So it was a bit of a shocker to hear them express these insecurities.

One even said she admires how well I take care of myself. A surprising statement made more surprising by the fact that I was eating a bacon breakfast muffin at the time.

It’s one thing to read about the struggles of professional creatives online. There’s a separation that somehow makes them seem almost “more than” normal people like us. Even when occasional flying sandbag hits them, still they stand on a bit of a pedestal.

But hearing these insecurities from people I work with and admire makes me realize something — there are some serious myths about creatives going around.

And it’s time to bust a few of ‘em wide open. Continue reading