Tag Archives: Writing Excuses

I’m Sorry. That Will Have To Wait Until I Return from The Caribbean.

This Saturday Sandra and I fly to Florida, and from there embark upon a Caribbean cruise with our friends from Writing Excuses, and about a hundred fellow writers.

The event is the 2015 Out of Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat. We’ve done this twice before, but this is our first time taking it to the seas with a larger crowd. I’m excited, and a little anxious.

I need to finish scripting, penciling, and inking a week of comics before I depart, and I must also read some things that require critiquing, and front-load myself with materials for Planet Mercenary so I can get some work done.

I’ve been led to understand that internet connectivity aboard ship is something that is paid for in dollars-per-byte, in much the same way that my 1977 Buick Electra 225 (link: a photo of one that was not mine) measured its fuel economy in dollars-per-mile. For this reason I’m going to be disconnected most of the time.

(Note: I got rid of the Buick in 1986, long before its value as a “classic car” could be cited as a justification to offset the incredible expense of driving something that seemed to be about as long as a cruise ship. Parallel parking that thing required two tug boats and a call to the USCG.)

Which brings me to the title of the article. Whatever it is that you might be asking, my stock answer is “I’m sorry. That will have to wait until I’m back from the Caribbean.”

I’ll be getting as much mileage from that line in the next five days as I got from the Buick for the entire time it was mine.


(UPDATE: No, I will NOT be present at Salt Lake Comic Con. Given the choice between setting up a table and camping in a giant concrete box full of 100,000 people, or a Caribbean cruise, I opted for the cruise.)

The Anxious, Exhausted, Exasperated Imposter

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had some issues.

Each week it falls to me to do the write-up of the Writing Excuses episode that will be airing Sunday night or Monday morning. Usually it falls to me to do this on Sunday, which is not my favorite day for getting work done. It’s also not an activity I love, because listening to myself talk while not being able to correct the stuff I get wrong (now that I’ve had more time to think about it) is painful.

This Sunday I got an email from Producer Jordo explaining that this latest episode (9.52: From the Page to the Stage) had serious source audio problems which took a long time to clean up.  Also, he said that he’d had to pull the episode from our queue for Season 10 because even after our big episode scheduling thread, we’d screwed up, and needed to post 54 episodes during 2014, leaving Season 10’s first quarter two episodes shy of where we thought it was.

Worse still, this particular episode is one in which Brandon was unavailable, so it fell to me to drive the discussion. It’s not a thing I struggle with, but those are still big shoes to fill.

Add to that the fact that I’d had horrible insomnia the night before, and I was having some mental-health moments (my inner spectator is pretty good at telling me when the depression or anxiety is unfounded)  and perhaps you can understand the perfect storm I was caught in.

I was, no lie, AFRAID to listen to episode 9.52 so that I could write a single paragraph, add some categories and tags, and post it. I was tired, anxious, frustrated, and suffering from imposter syndrome thanks to a mixture of external stimuli and bad brain chemistry.

I finally forced myself to do my job, and I could tell that the episode was pretty good. Maybe even great. Jordo’s cleanup on the audio was awesome, and the discussion flowed really well. But in spite of what I could clearly hear as a solid installment in the Writing Excuses franchise, I was still anxious and miserable. I was hanging out as much as possible with my inner spectator, but it’s easier to watch misery than to be it, but only barely.

Bad brain chemistry. Lying in bed an hour or so later I told Sandra that what I really wanted was to be happy so I could get out of the bleachers and ride the happy part instead of hiding up there while misery dominated the playing field. Only when I said it I think I rambled more.

This morning I feel fine. Sleep helps, as does a fresh dose of medication, a good breakfast, and a couple hundred milligrams of caffeine (it should be filed under “medication,” but it’s mixed with the 24 ounces of water I get at breakfast so it’s in its own category.) I look back at last night and am amazed at how poorly I was coping. Why was that so difficult? Was it really that bad?

Answer: Yes. Yes it was. And that’s why I write about these things. I need to remember that the bad brain chemistry days are real things, and while it’s possible that I’ll stop having them altogether, I’m not helping anybody if, while I’m happy, I decide that I don’t actually have a problem.

(Note: Further insight into my mental health can be found in the creative non-fiction piece “No. I’m Fine.” which you can read and share at no charge.)