The Limits of Ella’s Abilities

Today was another day of nose to the grindstone writing. My eyes are blurry from staring at a computer screen for too long, and I would do anything to escape from the tyranny of Scrivner. And while I am pleased with myself for having met my daily word count, I can’t help but feel frustrated.

I wrote about this last year, but one of the things that frustrates me the most is the limits of my abilities. I can feel like I’m doing everything I possibly can, and yet I’m still not living up to the right level. With upper level math in high school, I could spend hours trying to understand a concept and still have no idea what I was supposed to be doing.

When it comes to writing, I feel like I am forever living on the brink, that I just need one more shove to topple over into quality prose, but I can’t figure out how to make it there on my own. I’m quite literally doing everything I can. I read voraciously; I write upwards of 2,000 words a day; I study the industry; and I absorb all of the advice and instruction I can find. And yet it is never enough. I often worry that despite my constant efforts and my decision to devote this entire year to writing, I will never be able to create anything of value.

But it’s foolish to be consumed with frustration over my limitations. The only way I’ll ever expand them is if I continue ramming into them with as much persistence and force as I do now. Practice is the only way to ever improve. As hard as it is to banish these insecurities, I need to find a way to persevere without allowing them to consume me. I need to remain excited and in love with my work and create without thinking about the possibility of failure.

Let’s do this thing, Ella, and get back to work.

Right now, I’m writing the book I have always wanted to read, and the project is wonderful. I find myself wising that it could be over already so that I could enjoy the story in its entirety rather than only being able to reread what I’ve poorly drafted over the course of the last month.

Yesterday’s post seems to have created a lot of buzz down in the comments section, something that I’ve found very interesting to read. I’ve run out of words for the day, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to respond.

Ella and Newspaper Fury

There are times when reading the paper is a wonderful escape. Even if the news isn’t rosy, it’s still interesting to learn about the economic climates and elections in other countries. And then there are times when it just makes me furious.

I’m talking foaming at the mouth and pulling my hair out furious. So furious that I have to go look at something pretty or carry around a cat. Otherwise, I’ll find someone and they’ll be forced to sit there while I pace back and forth, use hyperbolic language, and say things I don’t mean as I rave about the stupidity of whatever I just read. This is also the time when I prove to the world that I can put not one, but both feet in my mouth.

It is not a very becoming habit.

So I try to stick to deep breathes and distractions.

And later when I feel guilty about the level of my fury, I just remind myself that there is a huge difference between being the sort of person who gets incensed about discrimination and the person who yells at secretaries when whoever they’re looking for is out of the office*.

I’m off to bed where Maxwell is already asleep in the most inconvenient of positions. Please don’t mention Israel, Somalia, or the Catholic church to me for at least the next twenty hours. I’m working on keeping the happy thoughts in and the insane raving out.

*A word to the wise: If you become friends with the secretaries, your life will be so much easier.

By the end of high school, I could walk into an office and get immediate access to pretty much whatever I needed, to the point that I didn’t even have to wait like the other students. It’s the exact same deal with doctors. I can get emergency refills called-in even when it’s an hour before the office closes, simply because the secretary likes me. Also, whenever I go to the hospital, my favorite nurse (okay, not a secretary, but the rule still applies) specifically requests me and I get the cool examination room with the really fancy scale and the funnier wall art.

Also, secretaries are frequently very abused by the people that come into their offices. Everyone needs something, and most people view secretaries as people who intentionally make it as hard as possible for them to get their needs met. The real bottom line is that being nice to people gets you better service and makes everyone’s day happier.

Cleaning Grey Matter Out of a Keyboard Is Not a Fun Task

Somedays, the writing comes easily. Other days, I feel like slamming my head repeatedly into the table while groaning dramatically.

Today fell on the latter side of the spectrum. But because I was a Starbucks, and not at my house, melodramatics weren’t exactly an option. I had also used Freedom to turn off my internet for the next three and a half hours, so I couldn’t even escape to the world of never ending news articles. I thought my head was going to explode.

It didn’t.

But I still spent a very large amount of time imagining what would happen if it actually did. Unfortunately, because I did not have the internet, I couldn’t come up with something very accurate. (How on earth would my skull shatter from the pressure of an exploding brain?) So I just thought about how the person next to me would look with bits of gray matter dripping down onto their glasses and keyboard. They were not going to be very pleased. No one likes organs on their face, and getting blood and tissue out of a keyboard is probably near impossible. And then I was going to scar the  little kids sitting at the counter for life.

After five minutes of this, I got back to work and chipped away at writing a review and working on a scene. It was not fun, but there were words written and about seventy percent of it was at east mediocre.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.