Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Waiting on the Publishing World? Why Not Write a song about Writer's Block?

So, on this Wednesday, of a particularly long week, I'd like to talk about waiting. I know many of you are in the middle of talking to/submitting to/querying to many prospective agents/editors/publishers, and if you've had a taste of the process at all, you know there's a lot of waiting involved.



And then some more waiting.

So, I thought I'd share with you some of my techniques to pass the time while you're waiting. (Let me preface this by saying, I also read books and work on other projects. On occasion, I even feed the kids. But sometimes, I'm just waiting.)

1. Solitaire

The other day, I reached 666 wins. I'm not normally a superstitious person, but you can bet I stayed up the extra two hours that night until I turned that win number to a more appropriate 667.

15.7 win percentage. 4,279 games played. As the Marines say, Hoo Wah.

(Of course, when they are yelling it as they invade countries, I'm sure they're thinking, "America rules!" and probably not, "Did you see that chick post the 15.7 win percentage? Hooo Wahhh!"

2. Turn your book into a cheesy, lego-like cartoon trailer.

During one wait last year, I made a cartoon preview for my first book Echo, just for my own kicks and giggles. Here it is:

3. Write a Song... and then record yourself singing it.

And this is the one colossal waste of time I can't believe I'm about to share with you. But, in honor of American Idol starting up, and those sad sacks that crashed and burned last night in front of all of the country, I shall push forward.

During one of my more manic waiting periods, I wrote a song. (A "Manic Wait" is the same as a "Wait", only with more pills.)

It's about writer's block. And I wrote it to the tune of that classic Suzanne Vega song "Tom's Diner".

If that wasn't embarassing enough, I recorded my own version of WRITER'S BLOCK. Me singing.

Those of you who've met me in person know my speaking voice resembles a chipmunk with two acorns shoved up his nostrils. Well, my singing voice is even better.

Since it's humiliating and just plain really really bad, I thought it would be perfect for my blog. I've also included the lyrics, in case you can't understand my singing. Unfortunately, the GarageBand application on my Mac makes my voice very clear. Again, this is unfortunate.

So, below, I present to you... Brodi Ashton, singing WRITER'S BLOCK, to Tom's Diner. (The lyrics are included below. You can sing along. Just follow the bouncing ego.)

I am sitting in my bedroom
Told my hubby this is “working”
I am waiting for the answers
To my villain’s motivations

And it’s hard to concentrate
And before I even know it
I am looking out the window
Are those doggies walking by?

(Doo doo’s)

Then I head to the store
Family says I need to feed them
And I watch for inspiration
Maybe it’s around the corner

There’s a guy at the counter
And he’s looking kind of iffy
Maybe he’s got superpowers
And he’ll make a good villain

(doo doo’s)

Do his eyebrows knit together?
How do eyebrows “knit together”?

I opened up the file
Oh this dialogue it is cliché
Who writes this sappy drivel?
Oh yeah, that would be me.

And I’m turning to the keyboard
And I’m writing random letters
When I’m feeling someone watching me
Oh yay, it’s the mailman!

There’s a letter meant for me
Is my agent gonna drop me?

There’s a woman on the outside from my church
Does she see me?
No she does not really see me
Cuz I’m hiding ‘neath the counter

And I’m thinking it’s okay
cuz I swear I’m on a roll

Only thirty thousand more words
It’s like I’m almost done

Now I’m jumping with my son
Did you see the way my arm moves?

Writer’s block it will continue through the morning as I’m listening for the voice of revelation…

I don’t hear it even now
And maybe now I hear it
But it’s telling me my book sucks
I look at the clock
It’s time to go to bed

Are you wondering how in the world I have such time to waste? Well, let me tell you, It's not easy, but I can waste time with the best of them. Give me an hour, and no matter how busy I am, I guarantee you I can waste it.

How about y'all? What do you do to pass the time?


  1. First off, I still think that video should go to Sundance.

    Also, that song....we'll think of something awesome to do with that song. Kudos!

  2. Thanks, Em. Maybe we'll make a music video. What say you?

  3. The video of Echo is fabulous. Nothing better than hearing a computer generated voice saying 'buttmunch.'

    The song is very pleasing to the ears. I have connected it in with our office speaker system and I have it lightly playing in the background. In order to generate a buzz on the music, I loudly exclaimed in a meeting--hey, this is a S.Vega song, but it is an even better version. Everyone nodded in agreement. This song is going to be HUGE!!!!!

    As everyone knows, I am a very lucky guy. Not only is my wife a writer, but she is a movie producer, song composer and an expert at card games. If I can only convince her to move to Vegas, then I will live the leisure life of a trophy husband while my wife does filmmaking and writing during the day, lounge singing in the evening and card playing at night.

  4. Oh, that little vegas scenario sounds perfect. Only I don't have an outfit with tassels.

    Looks like I'll have to go shopping now...

  5. Love the song and love the video! Does Lane really use an eggbeater?

    I apparently need to come up with more creative ways to waste my time. Right now I do boring things, like try to figure out how to improve my query letter ( is pretty fun). Sometimes I branch out and find funny clips to watch (like Still, I'm dreadfully dull, I think.

  6. Oh my goodness! Even as I clicked on the play button I thought, "is she really going to sing the song?" & then there you were, singing it.

    And that Brodi is why you are my idol!

    And I agree the video was pure brilliance. Thanks for the laugh!

  7. Oh My Gosh! Tears are rolling down my face and I'm still laughing over that cartoon video. Way too much time on your hands Brodi - but thanks for the laugh.

  8. Jenilyn- What you call "dull", I would call "productive." And no, my character doesn't use an egg beater. She uses a whisk. But "whisk" is a really hard word for computer-generated voices to say.

    Olivia- Hubby clicked on the song, hoping I really wasn't singing. Then he called me and told me I don't sound like me, because the real me can't sing that well. Ha ha.

    Mary- I know. Way way way too much time on my hands. Really, I should be cleaning, or answering emails, or answering phone calls.

  9. Wonderful song. Absolutely brilliant haha What do I do to pass the time? Erm...sleep, whenever and wherever possible (alone, that is...just to clarify haha) :)

  10. Melissa- Ah, sleep. What I wouldn't give to capture that elusive foe.

  11. Wasting time might be my biggest talent. Great ideas. May I present you with another one?

    I personally have found Text Twist to be the best time waster of all.

  12. I think I might love you.

    Also, by the end of the song, Jonah was singing the doo-doos.

  13. Rachel- thanks for the ideas! Now I can waste time without humiliating myself in the process.

    Heather- I think I might love you too. Tell Jonah that next time, we'll do a duet.

  14. Unfortunately, I can't watch the video or listen to the song while I'm at work. I'll have to check them out after class tonight.

    As far as wasting time, I like to play Solitaire too. I really like Spider Solitaire. I also like Sudoku, Text Twist (as mentioned by Rachel), and Minesweeper. Unfortunately, everything game related on the Internet has been blocked at work. :(

  15. Jenni- I hate it when employers expect their employees to be productive. Where do they get these crazy ideas?

  16. I know! It's ridiculous, right? Little do they know, I spend plenty of time on your blog. Mwahahahahahaha!

  17. I like to do crossword puzzles and sudoku and call it research because I have one character (about whom I've written less than ten pages but plan to someday make him the MC in a novel) who is addicted to crossword puzzles and sudoku.

    So yeah, not only am I great at wasting time, I'm great at claiming that I'm actually NOT wasting time because what I'm doing is TOTALLY necessary.

  18. back up singers?
    When I read your post, I seriously did not think you would actually be singing! That is so awesome. Maybe your next book could be about a first time novelist/solitaire junky who kariaokes in her free time.

  19. Okay, Wow! Nice song! Nice voice! I think it put me in some sort of stupor...the song is over and yet I'm still humming it. I can't get it out of my head!

    And I've always liked the computer generated movie of Echo. Avatar has nothing on you...special effects, whatever!

  20. Jenni- If I can contribute to just one person's waste of time, I've done my job.

    Nikki- That's my favorite excuse! Wasting time in the name of "research".

    Steph- Why didn't I think of having back up singers? Brodi and the pips. And the pips could be Kid B and Kid C.

    Erin- my song is stuck in your head? No higher compliment. You're welcome.

  21. I never ever waste time on solitaire. It's probably because I dont have a cool gadget phone but I like to waste time on say, Mafia Wars on facebook. No real game strategy there my friend, it's all point and click.

    I think the video is way cool, and even cooler now that I can connect with the characters I've come to love :)

    The song. Oh Brodi the song. Hilarious, creative, bizarre. Fantastic!

  22. That didn't sound too bad at all! My 9 y.o. loved it, too and was way impressed when I told him who you are. Go Bro!

  23. Holy crap, Bro, you kill me. You are so awesome. Can we record songs when we're in Vegas?

  24. What I do to waste time:
    1. Blog
    2. Read your blog
    3. Read other people's blogs
    4. Play text twist
    5. Play Freecell (I'm up to 300 wins in the last 13 months)
    6. Yell the name of whatever I'm waiting for and tell it to come faster.

    Example: I don't have class today and we're going to hear from Hopkins this week. I've blogged the longest, most worthless blog ever, checked all other blogs in existence (including crafty friends of friends), read 200 pages of "A Crown of Swords", played 3 rounds of text twist, and yelled "HOPKINS!" at least 8 times.

    (Can you tell I'm bored?)

  25. Debbie- the song: mostly bizarre. And I think point and click is pretty much all I do on solitaire.

    Sal- Thank you. I take it your 9-year old isn't a fan of music?

    Valynne- Of course! Then we can go for a record deal, if this writing thing doesn't work out.

  26. Ruth- You're the third person to mention text twist. I'm gonna have to give this thing a looksee.

    Good luck! Go Hopkins!

  27. Holy Frickin' Cow, I have NO BREATH! LOL! That lego movie was hilarious (especially when the alien tells her why she has no friends!) Your song was excellent but I think you have a great voice!

  28. L.T. - Thanks for watching! Yeah, I don't think there's a future for me in singing or anything. Funny thing is, I can't even stand to listen to it. I posted it, but I haven't listened to it in months.

  29. My favorite time wasters? Reading, reading, more reading, and developing convoluted spreadsheets. :) Yesterday at work, I made a spreadsheet that would calculate parole eligibility and "top time" expiration dates for two concurrent cases and one consecutive case. Took me all day. Should have been writing a 404(b) objection instead. :)

    I suck at Text Twist... and all other word games. Too much like math, sadly, and no spreadsheet to help. Words are too tied to meaning for me--who cares about these little puny letters and how many meaningless words they can form? :)

    Loved the video and the song-what talent!


    (Ignore all of the "join" stuff - just play).

    This took a fairly good chunk of 2009 from me, until I could consistently get over 4000.

  31. Robin- I can safely say, without a shadow of a doubt, I have never wasted time by creating a spreadsheet. But even fun spreadsheets sound more productive than solitaire. :)

    Bibliophile- I tried that game just now. Too much pressure!

  32. OK Chee chee. I better come and pick you up and take you on a long drive. That is too funny. But you may need to "get away" for a while. go to st. george this weekend with us

  33. Sis- Are you saying I need to "get away" or that the men in the white coats need to "take me away"?

  34. Well if you're sick of waiting, you can waste some time by reading this:

    You guys are practically famous!

  35. Ben- My heart just stopped with joy! That is the coolest Wikipedia reference I've ever seen. I will never doubt your wiki-skillz again. Seriously, I love it so so much. I hearts it.

  36. Truly Brilliant! You may have missed your calling in life.

    ♪Do do do doo, do do do dooo, do do do doo do do do dooooo ♫

    That tune is catchy! Now *I* have writer's block.

  37. Douglas- I am always happy to share my own writer's block with a friend.

  38. Oh, yes. Waiting. The ever-present stage of publishing, no matter where you are. I obsess. Chat. And play Farmville.

    Then I edit or write.

  39. Elana- Yes, I guess I could try writing or editing some more, instead of shooting for a music career. :)

  40. Since we have basically the same send-out/agent-signing anniversary and I am in the same stage of waiting as you, I think I'll just make that song my waiting theme song.

    Blogging is my biggest time-waster. And especially reading blogs. But then some (yours) are so funny. I loved the video. Maybe I should try that with mine.

    I also like staring at the ceiling pretending to think brilliant thoughts but really thinking about how I hate waiting in January. And how the only thing worse is February, which is next.

    And now your voice will be singing in my head while I try to write something not drivelish: Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. Do you really think I can write now? Gosh.

  41. Elena- My voice is in your head? I am so, so sorry. My mother apologizes too. btw, I rock at staring at the ceiling. I could do that all day, and never tire.

  42. Brod - I'm late in responding but you should know I woke up singing the "doo doo doo doo's" this morning (read your post yesterday) - thanks to you - it's been with me all day!

    The waiting... I can tell it stinks! But - I have to admit, I was a bit jealous you've had enough time on your hands to compose a song! I still can't believe you SANG on your blog! You are one brave chica. And you have a good voice! Loved it.

    BTW, could I (pretty please) borrow Hunger Games? Would you be willing to part with it for a bit?

  43. Cath- that's the thing- I really don't have enough time on my hands to write and sing a song! There are so many other things I should be doing.

    I have Hunger Games- I'll bring it by asap.

  44. WOW! not sure if i am MORE impressed with the SONG OR the fact you have 44 (now 45) comments!

  45. Dorien- Well, since half of the comments are me, be more impressed with the song!