Mr. Nasty Pants Vs. The Wannabe

Mr. Nasty Pants, my personality nemesis, spawned by Microsoft Clip Art.

Keeping my pantaloons-challenged personality fiend at bay is difficult. Like dead fish after an oil spill, he just keeps surfacing.

My most recent conversation with Mr. Nasty Pants went something like this:

Mr. NP, hiking up those dreadful trousers and puffing out his chest: “Hey Miss Wannabe Writer, thought you were supposed to be blogging about your transition from one life chapter to the next. Instead, you’re busy yacking about loogies on urinals and dog poop.”

Me, head lowered: “Variety is good. Besides, there’s not much to tell. I’m still waiting to hear from my editor.”

Mr. NP, eyes wide as frisbees: “What?! And your book is supposed to be released in September? Good Hades, you must be soiling yourself!”

Me: “Well, the author’s handbook said I wouldn’t hear back until three months before the release date.”

Mr. NP: “So blog about that. Tell those kiddies about your mounting panic on meeting the editing deadlines. How Mr. or Ms. Editor might throw so many changes your way, you won’t even recognize the material. Or how maybe,” Mr. Nasty Pants laughs, vanishing a bouquet of dead flowers up his sleeve, “poof, they’ll forget about you all together.”

Me, staring at his empty talons: “Um, I think I’d rather write about poop.”

Mr. NP: “Well at least tell the folks what you’ve accomplished during your agonizing wait. Surely, you’re halfway through a new work-in-progress by now.”

Me: “Um…”

Mr. NP: “Oh, come on, lady. Don’t tell me you’ve mucked that up, too? What in the heck are you doing all day? Visiting naughty blogs like Tales of a charm city chick  and The Mainland?”

Me, color infusing my melanin-deficient cheeks: “Now wait a second. I’ve written stuff. I finished an outline of my new novel and am now drafting it scene-by-scene. I’m up to scene six.”

Mr. NP, his tone mocking: “Oh, so you’re an outliner then? You know what your buddy Stephen King says about that, don’t you? He says outlines confine a writer. That ‘plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.’ He’s a fly-by-the-seat sort of guy, or a pantster, as you wannabes like to call it. Seems to have worked just fine for that rich ass dude, wouldn’t you say?”

Me: “Well, I don’t want to fix plot problems after the fact, you know? But I’m also working on a short story. No outline with this one. Just open that baby up and see where the words take me.”

Mr. NP: “And how’s that working for you?”

Me, face brightening: “Not bad. Pretty fun, actually. I’ve written about 8,000 words and would like to make it 10,000. So almost done.”

Mr. NP, just when I—idiot me—thought we might be connecting: “Well, you know it’s going to suck butt, don’t you? Just like your novel—the new and the old. And then you’ll start sweating, start pacing the floor and rubbing your neck and devouring cashew caramel trail mix, because, well, because you QUIT YOUR FREAKING DAY JOB! What are you a fu—”

Me, shooting to full height, cashew bits flying from my mouth, mad woman in action: “Hey, you know what, sicko? Shut the hell up. For once in your life, shut your hideous hamburger hole. I’m doing all right. I’m having fun blogging. I’m having fun writing. I’m having fun just taking care of me and my family for a change. So crawl back into your cerebral foxhole, you self-doubt asswipe!”

Gee, I didn’t know I had it in me…

Image credit: icanhascheezburger.com

What about you? Got any personality fiends fueling your self-doubt? Or, if you’re a writer, are you an outliner or a pantster? Or maybe you prefer to write without any pants on at all…

112 Responses to “Mr. Nasty Pants Vs. The Wannabe”

  1. journalread

    Oh, wow, Carrie, just look at how many of us own up to having our very own ‘Mr Nasty Pants’ – a bit of healthy contempt for him when we’re ‘up’ helps when we’re ‘down’.
    Another terrific post from you, you are so funny.
    Congratulations on the book done and the book in the making, can’t wait to read them both :)

    Like

    • crubin

      Thanks, Polly! I didn’t recognize your name of “journalread” though the Gravatar image was familiar. Did you just change it, or am I really more clueless than I already thought I was? That wouldn’t surprise me, by the way.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad to hear even wonderful writers like you have moments of self-doubt.
      :)

      Like

      • Polly Robinson

        Ah, you flatter me ma’am – we’re all the same under the skin – my blog has always had the title ‘journalread’ but it’s not usually shown as such … I was messing with it earlier and didn’t notice that it had switched back, I think I’ve dealt with it now, sorry for any confusion (it confuses me!)

        Like

  2. Joanna Aislinn

    OMG Carrie, you are so funny! Loved this post b/c I feel as though I am living it these days. Thanks for posting this.

    Like

    • crubin

      Apparently there is no shortage of self-doubt to go around! Thanks for the kind words.
      :)

      Like

  3. Fay Moore

    You and Mr. Nasty Pants get a plug in an upcoming post on my blog. Now to something mundane: Sorry to bother you with it on this end of the weekend. I have a silly request. Please read today’s post on my blog about The Bradley Chronicles. I’d appreciate it if you could read it and then vote for my segment. You’ll see what I mean. Thanks in advance, Fay

    Like

  4. Kourtney Heintz

    Carrie, I deal with my Ms. Negativity by naming her Miranda and basically doing the same thing telling. Her to shut the h*** up. :) I’ve experimented with outlining. First book had a 12 page outline. Second book had a 5 page synopsis. Third book is a two page synopsis. Each worked well. I think it’s about what the book requires and what you require to write it. :)

    Like

    • crubin

      Thanks for sharing your technique, Kourtney. It’s nice to see that even a short synopsis was enough to fuel your last book. I’m making a detailed outline, but at some point, I wonder if I should just start writing. But then I realize how nice it will be to have the plot kinks worked out ahead of time, because as I go through my outline, I often have to go back to an earlier scene to change something, etc. I just hope it doesn’t confine me and make me fail to see something that might work better had I not been so rigid.

      I’m glad you keep your Miranda in check. Of course, now your nemesis will forever be the red-haired lawyer from Sex in the City in my mind, but hey, Grandma H has an Hungarian accent, so, you know, it’s all good.
      :)

      Like

      • Kourtney Heintz

        LOL. I named her after the Orange soda, Miranda that Pepsi makes. I only had it in China. ;) But Miranda on SITC could be equally annoying at times. :)

        I think it’s about having some form of a roadmap to the story that gives you the confidence to write it. It’s really about what you need. And it’s not carved in stone. You can change the outline as you go. It’s a roadmap, but sometimes you need to get off and see some weird sites you never planned to see. :)

        Sometimes I have mapped out the whole story and half way through the characters hijack my plot and suddenly I’m reworking the entire synopsis. That happened with my last book and my current WIP. But it all ended up good in the end. :)

        Like

        • crubin

          That is so true that characters can hijack a plot. It sounds crazy to say, and I’m sure people wonder how that’s possible, but I think unless you’ve written fiction, it’s hard to understand. In some ways, characters really do write the story.

          I really appreciate your insights, Kourtney. It helps to hear from someone who’s been there. Especially someone who’s been there 3 times and is a semi-finalist in the Amazon contest!

          Have a great rest of your Sunday.
          :)

          Like

  5. Jennifer Worrell

    Congrats on the novel! Self-doubt has tried to crawl up my ass this week–you just helped me poop it out:) Thanks bunches! Great post:)

    Like

    • crubin

      Anytime I can help with the constipation of self-doubt, I am a happy woman.
      :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  6. Arizona girl

    My Mr. NP also gives me a hard time for quitting my ‘real’ job and daring to do something I love (fitness). I say poop on all the Mr. NPs in the world! What counts is being happy and fulfilled, and if we never dare to take risks, we’ll never accomplish something great, right?!

    Like

    • crubin

      Starla, you are too funny. First of all, I want to know what you were doing that led you to the video. And second of all, I like your version of me. I must admit, however, that even though that woman kicked the guy’s butt, it is still hard for me to watch a man and woman go at it in a physical fight. Guess I’m still a little old-fashioned in some respects.
      :)

      Thanks for a great laugh! Hope your stressful load has become a little lighter these past few days.

      Like

      • starlaschat

        I actually looked for the video when I thought of you and Mr. Nasty Pants. I wanted you to win. I was going to look at lazer light sabers but thought you might like a cage fight better. Your right I am old fashoined as well fightings not a good thing men or women I guess I thinking of Mr. Nasty Pants did you notice the guy was wearing pants.
        The weekends been a tough one and it looks like it just gona keep getting tough but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Life is still good even if it is a little difficult right now OK a lot difficult. :+)

        Like

  7. Anastasia

    Why, Miss Carrie, I do declare.. Good for you!
    (hope this doesn’t post twice, it didn’t seem to the first time)

    Like

    • crubin

      Whoa, you’re getting your Southern on today, aren’t you? Probably don’t see a lot of Southern belles in Saudi. But I bet those Southern gals could kick Mr. Nasty Pants to the curb far more successfully than me.
      :)

      Like

  8. Perfecting Motherhood

    I think Stephen King has written so many books he can do it with his eyes closed, and no outline. It’s probably harder to write a book without an outline for all the newbies like us. I have some ideas of children’s books and I know how the story will go but I’m not sure I’ll use an outline when I get to writing them. I’d feel too constricted, I think.

    As for the self-doubt, I get that all the time. I have at least one potential client contact me every other week and discuss their marketing projects, understanding they need to hire a pro like me to get it done. When I give them a quote, they balk at the price, and my fees are very reasonable. Yikes, I need to stop taking those phone calls and looking for the right clients myself. Unfortunately, I’m trying to get away from the marketing and get more into the writing (e.g. articles), so I really need to go after the gigs, and I keep telling myself, maybe I’m not cut for this. Then I need to get my site up and going to sell my photos and I keep telling myself, maybe I’m not so good at this. And then I want to spend more time sharpening my drawing skills for fun and to illustrate my own picture books, and I think, maybe I’ll never be good enough at it… It’s very annoying and I think I have too many projects / career objectives to tackle at once and I can’t do them well enough if I do them together. So in the meantime, I do nothing… Argh, shoot me now!

    Like

    • crubin

      I completely understand that feeling of near paralysis when there’s so much you want to accomplish, but because of fear or self-doubt or lack of time, it becomes almost impossible. I appreciate you sharing your experience, because I think many of us can relate. You do have your fingers in many pies, that’s for sure, and I suspect it is frustrating to be helping others market their projects when you want to be creating your own. What exactly do you market–companies with products? Individuals? I’m just curious. Very interesting.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. And yes, I bet Stephen King could pop a new fiction baby out quicker than I could come up with a first line.
      :)

      Like

      • Perfecting Motherhood

        Here’s a very interesting discussion thread on LinkedIn regarding using outlines. Obviously, it’s quite a popular subject!

        http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=111245&item=104861186&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_pd-ttl-cn&ut=2GUYkKpjZKFlc1

        At this point I help smaller and larger companies with their marketing communications materials, anything printed or online. The very small companies are the ones usually reaching out to me because they need my services the most. But they’re also the ones who don’t want to spend any marketing dollars, go figure. I quoted a prospect $120 to write a proposal letter for him, which was a steal, and he bulked at the price. When he’s the one who said he needed to pay for my expertise! That’s why I usually only look for much larger projects. I hate having to justify why they should hire me if they don’t get it. Here’s my website by the way, so you can see what I do: http://www.marketing-freelancer.com.

        Like

        • crubin

          Thanks for that link to the LinkedIn discussion. It helped reaffirm my thought on outlining, which is–I think I best stick with it. And thanks for the link to your website. Very impressive. And such good testimonials! I can’t believe that potential client thought $120 was too much. I’m not even in the business, and it seems a steal to me. I am also happy to report that I know what a SWOT analysis is. Had to write one of those up as part of a public health course project.
          :)

          Like

          • Perfecting Motherhood

            Thanks, you remind me I need to update my testimonials page. I could do the job with my eyes closed and after 15 years, I think I’m burned out. I still enjoy doing it for clients who really need and appreciate my expertise but doing something different with my other skills might be fun too.

            I’m glad you found that LinkedIn discussion useful. It’s always nice to see what a large sample of people think of using outlines.

            Like

            • crubin

              I do like the discussions on LinkedIn. I have an account, and that’s really all I use it for so far.

              Like

  9. subtlekate

    Hey Mr NP, dog poop is real life, I’ll have you know. Poop is profound!
    I have my own Mr.NP, and he’s in my ear right now. Those self doubts have me in their grip and it’s tightening every time I open my lap top to write. Congratulations on your book, that is a fantastic achievement. :)

    Like

    • crubin

      Thank you! And so glad to learn I’m not alone in my self-doubts. Maybe we could bottle up all of our self-doubt and give it to some power-hungry politicians who think they can do no harm. That should bring them down a notch.
      :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  10. writerwendyreid

    I have all the same doubts as well, I just don’t pin them on a make-believe character…hehehe. And my first book I wrote on the fly, this current WIP I’m writing somewhat of an outline for. :-)

    Like

    • crubin

      Well, I have to blame that terrible self-doubt on someone, right?
      :)

      It seems that what I’ve learned from you and the other commenters out there is that although a lot of writers are pantsters, they understand the value of an outline. Guess I’ll stick with the boring but safer outline for now.
      :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Wendy!

      Like

      • writerwendyreid

        I read as much as I can about becoming a better writer and there is a lot of info out there that includes some sort of planning. I find myself getting “stuck”quite often now but when I take a few minutes to sit down and write it out, I can easily continue my story. :-)

        Like

  11. i mayfly

    I so want to create a Super Carrie character complete with a caramel color cape to swoop down upon the pointy-headed Mr. NP whenever he shows his vexing self. She would use her super blogging powers to box him into a corner – where he rightfully belongs. Oh wait, you already did that. You’re my hero! -Nik

    Like

    • crubin

      What a great idea! Super Carrie–I like that! Unfortunately, instead of a heroic character, I see more of a Clumbsy Carrie image, since sadly, that is closer to the truth (I have the bruises to show it…). But I much prefer your caped crusader!

      Thanks for popping in. Appreciate it!

      Like

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