Better than a palm smack to the forehead, I’ve come up with a surefire way to prevent future writing embarrassments and shameful literary episodes. It’s called Broken Finger Syndrome. Posters, pens and stickers coming soon 😉
I don’t literally break my own fingers, although at times I probably should. Instead, I figuratively give myself broken finger syndrome. Sometimes it’s the only way to stop me from writing when I shouldn’t.
Case in point: I don’t need to write when I’m under the influence of grandmahood. Although warm and fuzzy has its place in literature, it doesn’t belong in a gruesome murder-mystery. Grandmahood prevents me from writing those sharp scenes dripping with terror. I devolve into Care Bears and unicorns and cotton candy clouds.
Another time I should not touch my keyboard is late at night. I write my best when the house is quiet but lately night is not a quiet time. Late night has become the middle of the day for some folks in my household.
Caffeine can be a bad thing when it comes to writing. I’ll get started on a story and speed through it like a cheetah. Even though I like what I’m writing as I go, the next day I might look at it and think, O M G, did I really write that?
On a different, yet similar note, writing while under the influence of (prescription) drugs may work for some (Mary Shelly, Poe, etc.), but not for me. I was due for my part in a collaboration and quickly wrote out what I thought was a shining chapter after taking medication for my pulled back.
It was so full of holes, Swiss cheese was jealous. Thankfully, the collaboration’s conductor gently pointed out how screwed up I’d made my chapter. She was much nicer to me than I was to myself. My butt still hurts from the kicking I gave it.
A serious lack of sleep is as bad as drinking or drugs. There’s a point during sleep deprivation that you believe you’re Superman. If I write during this time, it ends up reading more like a super villain’s not-so-bright sidekick than a superhero.
In conclusion, I’ve given myself permission to use Broken Finger Syndrome – BFS – when it’s in the literary world’s best interest that I temporarily cease writing. You’re welcome, Great World of Literature.
Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch