Perfectionist Writer Problems: You May Be a Perfectionist If . . .

The Sarcastic Muse

Perfectionist Writer Problems: You May Be a Perfectionist If . . .I was chatting with Chris last week about my novel issues. Yes, with my thesis looming over my head I’m having, of all things, novel issues. I am not a fire and forget kind of writer. I’m an agonize over every word even when I know I’ll probably burn the draft in a fiery pit of doom kind of writer. Perfectionists are an odd sort, and the longer I hang around the writer corner of the internet, the clearer it is to me that the writing world is full of them. *Waves at all fellow perfectionists*

The sarcastic muse has struck me this week, so below I’ve amassed a list of some perfectionist problems. At least the ones that are familiar to me.

Disclaimer: I can’t speak for all perfectionists. Also, some points may dually apply to self-proclaimed non-perfectionists, too. (Imperfectionists?)

You may be a perfectionist if . . .

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Finding Hosting: To Move or Not to Move?

Image: Morguefile

Image: Morguefile

I’ve been on social media for about a year and a half now (only nine months for this blog and twitter, however), and I’ve reached a crossroads. A few months ago, I bought my own domain name with the intent of finding hosting and setting up my professional website. Especially since I’ve become more involved with freelance editing. (That’s one of the reasons I haven’t set up an editorial price list, etc, on this blog.)

As I creep closer to my goal, I have started looking at the possibilities. I don’t need anything fancy, and I’m busy enough with other projects that I don’t want it to be complicated. I know that I’d like it to support WordPress. And in that case, WordPress has suggested BlueHost, DreamHost, and LaughingSquid as hosts that work well. I only know one person’s opinion on BlueHost, and the rest are unfamiliar to me. Have any of you guys used the above-mentioned hosts? Got any feedback? Suggestions?

I worry that moving to my own domain (away from the WordPress feed) will cause me to lose the small (but communicative) following I have here. Ideally I’d like to keep everything in one place, but it’s possible that I could keep this as my blog and just pay for hosting for an editorial landing page. But, given that I write mostly about writing on The Sarcastic Muse, and reserve this blog for my more personal wayward musings, it’s possible that keeping both wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway.

What are your thoughts or experiences? Any advice would be welcome!

Making my Writing Nest

“That is a big damn chair,” my boyfriend said as he gazed at me, sprawled over the armrests of my new chair. And I lost it — I burst into laughter. Because when these absurd situations happen, you just have to laugh, right? Besides, the look on his face was priceless. “Are you sure you didn’t buy a couch?”Making my Writing Nest

“Well, it looked smaller in the store,” I managed to say between giggling breaths. “It is a little large, isn’t it?”

A little large was an understatement. It had, in fact, devoured a good chunk of the bedroom.

“Out of all the chairs in Tartu . . .” But I was so happy about it that he didn’t have the heart to nag me too much.  To be honest, he started to laugh, too.

“At least it’s green,” I said. Green is our favorite color. “And the cats seem to like it.” Our cats make all the household decisions, it seems.

This week has been a busy one. Monday I started the move from my cozy attic apartment into my new home on the other side of town.  I had reservations about this move — I’m like a cat in that sense, when it comes to uprooting from a place I actually like — because the other apartment suited me. The skylights, the low-angled ceiling (I’m only 5’2, so I fit), the location. But this new apartment has its merits, too. For one, it has a wood burning stove for heating. Secondly, it has a lot more space. And finally, as a way to compromise with me, my boyfriend agreed that I could purchase a reading/writing chair for the bedroom.

He may regret saying that, now.

The bedroom actually has a fantastic location for a desk right next to the chimney, so it would be warm in the winter. But I am one of those writers who cannot work at a desk. In fact, other than a loaned dorm room desk, I have never even had one.

When I was a pre-teen/teenager, I didn’t like using furniture for writing. (I have no idea why.) Instead, I would sit on the carpet beneath my bedroom window and write. My stack of writings was a pile on the floor. Once I got a laptop, I moved downstairs so that I could plug into the internet (no wifi then), found a spot in a corner between the couch and the wall, and sat, as always, on the floor.

My habits, to be honest, never really changed much. Once I moved to college, I invested in a floor chair. I used a stack of notebooks as a mouse pad and did all my work, once again, on the floor. I even played World of Warcraft on the floor (yes, I’m a gamer). And, as previously mentioned, though I did have a desk, I mostly used it as a storage closet.

When I escaped the dorms and moved into my own apartment, I finally started using the couch as my workspace. After that, since most of the places I’ve lived in Europe have had hard floors (and I didn’t have the good fortune to bring my floor chair along), I’ve given up the practice of sitting on it, but depending on where I’m living and what furniture is available to me, I’ve continued the practice of writing anywhere but a desk.

So, now that I’m in an apartment that has the space, I went out four days ago on my mission to find the ideal chair: cat-resistant, comfortable armrests that could fit my laptop, big enough that I can sit in one of my funny writing positions.

I came away like a proud new parent. I had found it. The chair. My chair.

As I’m writing this, both cats sit next to me with room to spare — one is actually drooling, I think. I have a cup of coffee sitting on one of the armrests (I’ll try not to spill it). Above me shines one of the two ideally placed wall lamps. To the right is my bookcase. I even managed to fit my Estonian rug (also green) in the narrow space between bookshelf and bed — just in front of the door. In short, I’ve managed to make a writing nest, which is an essential component for me as a writer.

An essential component, I think, for any writer.

So, on that note, I’m curious about where you all prefer to work: on the floor, a desk, tables, chairs? Do you prefer to go somewhere outside the house to write? Does it actually matter to you?

Please let me know in the comments!

Stepping into the New Year

In terms of writing, though sometimes it feels like I’ve accomplished very little, 2013 has actually been one of my most prolific writing years in a quite a while. In February, I started my current novel—I’m now up to thirty thousand words—and met my writer’s group. I’ve managed to get some research done for my Master’s thesis; I presented that research to my peers (in Estonian) during the most frightening half hour of my entire life. I have survived three full semesters of my Master’s degree. So, now, at the end of the year, I guess it’s time to start looking ahead again.

I am somewhat wary of writing down “goals” of any kind, but at least writing goals are something I can actively work to fulfill. So, after some amount of deliberation, I’ve decided what my goals are for the following year in terms of my academic/writing career (which are sometimes more or less the same):

–         Become a more proficient speaker of Estonian

–         Get one of my short stories accepted for publication

–         Write my Master’s thesis

–         Finish something – whether it be a novel or a new short story or a novella

–         Read and review at least twenty novels not related to my research

–         Write consistently for this blog


So there you have it. My goals for 2014.

On that note, I hear the fireworks already. To all of you who have your own goals to fulfill, I wish you all the best of luck and a Happy New Year. I’m going to go sit on the roof and drink merrily to a new year, new resolutions, and new friends. See you all on the other side.