• THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

    THE FOREST FOR THE TREES is about writing, publishing and what makes writers tick. This blog is dedicated to the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gather here. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in! Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives.

    If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

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Put Your Hands Up Playing My Song Butterflies Fly Away

Dearest Community of Writers, Thieves, Scoundrels and Cons: YOU MADE IT! WE MADE IT! Thirty minutes of pecking for thirty days. Tap, tap, tap. Scratch, scratch, scratch. We slung some sentences together and turned ourselves around. The feedback has been great: some started something new, some breathed life into something old, some found the daily task helped them find a groove. Some missed a day or two but got back in the saddle. I’m going to propose a weekly check in until the end of the year. My goal is to reach 100 pages and work on story. One question hangs in the air: why do we make ourselves write.

Leave it here: what is your goal for the end of the year? Commit! Commit!

And the Painted Ponies Go Up and Down

Today I wrote for two hours while my car was getting serviced, jacked up on decaf, avoiding a woman who wanted to engage. The more I wrote the more I became convinced that my project wasn’t sustainable. I’ve been at this rodeo before and I know that how I feel about my work is a reflection of how I feel about myself and not the work itself. Though of course the work may suck. Today is Day 29 and you know who you are and what it takes. Tomorrow let’s take the day off and we’ll have our final day, Day 30 on Friday. For now I just want to say that I’m so grateful to all of you. Thank you for being here.

Happy thanksgiving! Loyalty to the family is tyranny to the self!!

I’m on the Edge of Glory

Day 28. I had a goodish writing day. The big win was doing it 5pm. Taking back the night. Taking back my life. I’ve always done all my writing at 5:30 in the morning until about 10:00 am. Lifting the restriction about doing it first thing or not at all has been liberating. This has been the big revelation for me these last 28 days. And also that a half hour is enough time to get something done.

What rules do you have about when, where and how much time you need to write?

The Story Never Ends

Day 27 Boom Boom Tick. Played footsie today which is to say I went over early pages and didn’t write anything new, which is to say it i feel like a loser and doubt is having its way with me. I know I’m supposed to offer a modicum of coaching and encouragement. Well, no way. If there is any reason to read this blog it’s to be reminded that writing sucks face, that you’re never as good or bad as you think you are, that putting words together is sacred, holy, and completely fucked.

How was your day my beloved 30/30’s?

You’re a Cowboy Like Me Perched in the Dark

Day 26. Pound it out, guys. This is the big finish. We are facing the Macy’s Day Parade, your ego floating high over Fifth Avenue, crowds cheering, lips synching. We are almost there. I am so insanely proud of myself. I jump started an old jalopy and got her driving again. Will I finish, will it work, can I drive stick? We will see. Thank you for coming on this adventure. Let’s make the last days count.

What’s your writing plan for the next three days. Commit!

Would You Stay if She Promised You Heaven

DAY 25 Sorry I didn’t get this out last night. But I did get my thirty in earlier in the day. I was mostly layering in cement to hold the bricks together. I hate it when writers say they find out more about their characters as if the characters are real and reveal their secrets. The writer is the puppeteer. Maybe you find out more about yourself as in you didn’t realize you had those strings to pull. Anyway, it turns out my main character is a bit of an asshole. Love it.

Describe your main character in three words.

p.s. Five more days till the mountaintop.

How ’bout Them Transparent Dangling Carrots?

DAY 24 DAY 24 DAY 24 DAY 24 DAY 24 DAY 24 Motherfuckers!!!! I know what you’re thinking, what happens after the thirty days? I’m going to lash myself to the my desk chair and immerse my feet in a tub of oil. I’m going to start wearing make-up and high heels. I am going to get a bone density test and new bras. At the end of these thirty days, I am going to double down because for the last four years I have co-written other people’s books but this feels like something tiny and enormous and I don’t feel like stopping.

You tell me. What’s going to happen?

And I’m Here to Remind You

Day 23 meh. Are we starting to see a pattern here? Writing every day really gives you the chance to see the good days for what they are and the bad days for what they are. It doesn’t matter. The days don’t care about you. Just keep pushing through. We have seven days left. You can do this.

Good day? Bad day?

That Perfect Feeling When Time Just Slips

Day 22. I wrote for an hour today. I lost track of time I shit you not. I want to say that when I proposed 30/30, I had no idea if it was a good idea, if I could even do it, etc. I jumpstarted a piece I started last summer. I’ve written on average 2 pages a day. The consistency has been incredibly valuable, but it’s realizing that I can fit 30 minutes in any time any where. I don’t have to be all precious about my pre-dawn quiet. I can eat them here or there, I can eat them anywhere!

When are you writing?

That’s Why I’ll Always be Around

Day 21 limping along to be honest. Mostly played footsie with early pages. fixing typos, laying in descriptions. It’s all part of the same flag. There are just some days when all you can do is move the pawn back and forth on the board.

Is anyone out there still writing? I feel you slipping away.