Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing: The Terrifying Act of Converting Your Thoughts to Print

I do this on a regular basis.  I sit down and attempt to make the swirling miasma that runs through my head sit still long enough for me to quantify it.  Sometimes, this is a non-starter.  I just stare at my thoughts, and they stare back, and there is no meeting in the middle.  Sometimes, they are yelling at me, but my body is too antsy for me to stop and listen.  Sometimes, my thoughts and I come together, and I write furiously, only to discover some hours later that it isn't worth keeping.  Then, there are the moments when it all comes together, and I write something I think is worthwhile.  Then, I submit it and sit back and wait for the rejection letters!

That is, in essence, what it means to be a writer.  Even established writers get rejection letters every now and then.

In the last couple of months, I've watched a couple of people who don't usually write, sit down and do some writing.  I was surprised.  Not because they were writing, writing seems rather second nature to me, but at how nervous they were while doing it.  I guess I'm so used to dumping my brain out into print I rarely realize how personal, revealing, intimate and naked you get when you write something.  Your words always say more about you than whatever subject about which you happen to be writing.

I get really deep in some of my projects.  So deep, in fact, that when I resurface, I doubt anyone cares as much about what I'm doing as I do.  it makes for disheartening work, sometimes.

The key to dealing with the discomfort of writing, is to write.  The key to dealing with the discomfort of sharing your writing, is to share it.  Sometimes it is horrible, and you will be embarrassed.  Sometimes it is brilliant and you will be joyful.  Sometimes it is 'meh' and you will be frustrated.  The key, is to keep at it.

Writing is one thing at which you can get better if you keep practicing it.  This is something I have to remind myself when I get frustrated.  It is something I have to keep reminding myself when I get lazy about the work.  it is something I have to keep reminding myself when I am on fire and can't stop writing.

There are many people who tell me they think they want to write a book.  There are people who are certain that the book they want to write is better than anything out on the market.  I say, go for it.  Write.  We need more people who have brains wired for this sort of activity.  We need more people trying to remake the world one literary word at a time.

Words have power.  Sometime they have too much power.  Some words get no notice and have very little power.

Recently, I was talking to a good friend of mine about this series of satire books I'm writing.  She laughed as I explained what they were.  She said to me, "They will be well written, and most probably fascinating, but because of that, they aren't likely to be popular.  Why don't you just crank out some schmaltzy, light pop fiction with a hunky teenage monster boy and a waifish girl, or something like that?"    We had a good laugh and then I went back down the rabbit hole of this bizarre idea I've got floating around in my head.

Oh well, we are what our brains make us, and sometimes our brains do not tread into popular culture.  Mine certainly doesn't.  I have always been an 'outlier' when it comes to what most people enjoy.  When my brain belches forth ideas, they come from that reality.  I love what I do, and most of the time I enjoy what I am writing.  Understanding it may not be popular doesn't stop me from bringing it forth.

If you love it, then just go for it.  Who knows, there may be at least one other person out there as goofball, and off the wall as you are.  Even if they are the only person who buys your book, well, then you found one person to touch.  That's better than if you never wrote anything at all.

Then again, you could always win the Pulitzer.  Anything is possible.

Happy Writing

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