Six Hundred Sixty Six Bottles of Blood on the Wall: I’m Back
So I took a month off. Couldn’t help it. Personal issues (Fear, doubt, trepidation). But here I am again. Ready to go.
This is what happened.
Most of you know that I wrote my butt off in June. I fell slightly short of my goal, but I worked HARD. I learned a lot about myself in June and I’ve learned a lot more in July and I’m going to give you what I took from July in the next 1,000 words or so.
Let me preface this by saying that I finished June by writing one of the strongest stories I’ve written thus far. It’s called “Misery” and it’s in the collection Barnyard Horror edited by James Ward Kirk. I’ve had a chance to read most of the stories/poetry in the collection and it’s all top notch. I think the paperback is like 8 bucks on Amazon right now. It’s a steal. I promise.
The story I wrote for that collection killed me. Can’t remember if I’ve written about “Misery” here before or not, but it’s awful. It put me through an emotional wringer. Prior to writing “Misery” I’d been writing funny and I wanted to write something really dark, serious, heart-wrenching and emotional. Based on the response I’ve gotten, I succeeded. But that story took a lot out of me. Go read it for yourself and see what you think.
All that brings me to July. As a sort of reward for myself for “kicking so much butt” in June I took a few days off. Just a terrible idea. I’ve learned this about myself a few times, but I still occasionally make the same mistakes. Taking a break or a mini-vacation or whatever from writing is a horrible idea. Even when I’m not writing everyday, and I often don’t, it’s more about the mindset than anything. A few days off turned into 3 weeks in a hurry and suddenly I realized I hadn’t done shit in July.
That’s not okay.
I like to think I salvaged the month. I managed about 10,000 words spread out across three stories, (all finished and submitted) but more importantly, I broke through the funk.
The funk, the rut, whatever you want to call it, I don’t give a shit, but DON’T call it writer’s block. I don’t believe in that. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write, I had a billion ideas, it was that I was burned out, and tired, and lazy and the days of lethargy stacked up fast.
A couple things caused this. Going HAM in June for sure. The content of “Misery” for sure. But I know what the biggest thing was…
Some people say that fear stands for F Everything And Run. I ran. And I hid, because I was scared to keep going.
If the next couple paragraphs come off as arrogant you don’t know me at all. I’m just going to be 100% honest here. When I wrote “Misery,” I knew it was good. Usually the shit I write that makes me sick to my stomach or makes me laugh or makes me cry is good. A lot of my stories don’t do that to me, but “Misery” did. Well, not the laugh part, but everything else. I’m not saying it was epic, or legendary or Jack Ketchum, but it was good. And I’ll go as far to say, one of my best. I submitted it to a nearly full anthology, probably took the last spot and the book came out almost immediately.
Mere days after I finished “Misery,” a little EXTREME HORROR ANTHOLOGY called DOA2 from Blood Bound Books came out. I’m sure you’ve heard me mention that before. If not, the story I have in there is called “A Scalene Love Triangle” and though several stories have come out before DOA2, it was my second sale.
The second story I sold was in a collection with my all time favorite writer, Jack Ketchum, and a bunch of other huge names. Mind = blown to the point that barely believed it. It took the physical release of the book to convince me that it wasn’t a dream, but a dream come true. I’ve now held that book in my hands and read it cover to cover and no matter if I sell another story ever again, no one can take that feeling of triumph from me.
You would think that holding that book and reading my own story in there would’ve been a great motivator. The whole look where I am after a year and where will I be in another kind of shit.
However, and I think this happened on a very low, subconscious level, holding the book, and reading the other AAA stories in there, had the complete opposite effect.
It scared the shit out of me. What should’ve been nothing but confidence and validation instead terrified me. Made me wonder if I was for real or if this was nothing but pure, dumb luck.
In music they call it the sophomore slump and I was scared that I peaked with my second sale.
Fear kept me from writing for almost a whole month. I don’t know if that’s cocky or pathetic or both or neither. I don’t know what to make of it, but that’s the truth.
Hell, I even went housesitting for my parents for a 3-day weekend at the beginning of July and literally didn’t write a single word.
And then I learned how vicious the non-writing cycle can get. I planned to shatter through all the shit and write my butt off that weekend.
Instead I slept, read, and watched documentaries about serial killers on youtube. (The Shawcross and Kuklinski interviews are my “favorites”)
Then, all the sudden it was time to go back home, back to work, and I had nothing. I went from anger at myself for not writing head on into depression at the thought of all that wasted time and it took me two more weeks to recover from that.
I’m not proud of any of this, embarrassed actually, but I’m willing to bet this happens to a lot of writers out there. You’re not alone. I don’t know how to prevent it, and I don’t know how to make it go away faster. All I can tell you is don’t give up and figure out your own way to get through it. Because getting through it is so worth it.
I didn’t even feel like writing posts about writing for HT. I didn’t feel worthy of that. How can someone who can’t string a sentence together give other writers advice?
My mom always says she knows when something’s wrong with me because I fall off the face of the earth. Just disappear. She’s right and I did it here too. I guess that’s just me. Sorry. I hope it doesn’t happen again for a long LOOOOOOOOONG TIME.
I’m through it now and I’m happy with the way the month ended. But I’m ashamed of the way it started. And now I’m ready to grab August and my current works in progress by the throat. And that includes keeping up with you guys here at HorrorTree. I can’t thank you enough for reading.
I’ve got a lot of cool shit coming up and some great stuff I’m working on and I’m so glad I broke through because it would’ve been real easy to just carry on that way. It’s a hell of a lot easier to do nothing than to write, but I don’t find satisfaction in nothing.
And sorry this ain’t funny either, but I needed to purge this shit from my system and I’ll take honesty over forced humor any day. And if any of you are in similar stasis, I’d rather let you know that you’re not alone than make a few cheap dick jokes. Although I really love making dick jokes. I promise at least 3 dick jokes next week. YEAH I said next week because I’m back motherfruiters (not a typo) and I’m ready to rock.
How bout you all? I missed you.
In a funk? Let me know. Wanna make a dick joke? Shoot it at me. Here I am, done hiding and ready to rip faces and eat hearts and keep spilling ink and my guts all over the page. Here’s where you can get at me: newworldhorr[email protected] or New World Horror – Kerry G.S. Lipp on Facebook.
Cool announcement coming next week. For me at least. But maybe one or two of you will give a shit. Hopefully a hell of a lot more. We’ll see. In the meantime, get some words down. Fight through your funk and don’t quit. Even if the light at the end of the tunnel is Cthulu eating your face, it’s probably better than dying slow and alone in the dark.
Keep reading, keep writing, and keep it real,
- About the Author
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Kerry G.S. Lipp is a wannabe writer working hard to drop the wanna be part. He teaches English at a community college by evening and works as a civilian on a military base by night, and usually sleeps during the day. He’s not a big fan of the sun. His stories are currently available in the anthologies Lucha Gore and Under The Knife and several more will follow in 2013. His parents have started reading his stories and it appears that he is now out of the will. Follow him on Twitter @kerrylipp. You can read his short ‘Smoke’ at SNM Magazine.