Wednesday, September 15, 2010

on writing but not on being stephen king

I guess I've always wanted to be a writer.

That's a lie!

I've always wanted to be a story teller. I cleaned out some old shit stored under the porch the other day and found stories written in my (only slightly less legible than now) six-year old handwriting. I was always writing and drawing, and throughout elementary school devoted a lot of time to making little comic-strips. I've wanted to be a cartoonist, film-maker, comic-book writer, novelist, memoirist, journalist. I've never bothered to focus on any one thing, or do the required hard work. If there's any advice you hear from anyone anywhere who is successful in anything, it's that you have to be devoted and you have to work hard. I don't do that. That's why I'm such a failure.

We're getting sidetracked.

My first semester of college I took a fiction writing class. I wrote a short story about a fellow that quits law school to pursue a career as a professional wrestler. I wrote a poem about echinacea that was pretty good. I wrote a lot of crap too. A lot of crap. On the last day Professor Gargoyle took my aside and said "Don't stop writing. You have a gift. Don't stop."

So I stopped and never took another writing class again. If 1998 Bryton could see me now!

I made a few films in college. I think they're pretty good actually. Though I kind of cringe when I watch them now and wish I could make changes to them. I finally found my story-telling niche in the early 2000s with message boards and then later, blogs. That sounds ridiculous. It is.

If you've ever read my main blog, Microsuede, you know what I'm all about. I like to tell stories about things that happened. I particularly love to dramatize the mundane and make say, a trip to the grocery store sound like a trip to a really awesome grocery store.

Writing has always come easy to me. Don't confuse what I'm saying here. I'm not saying that I'm good at it, that I'm some sort of natural born wordsmith, just that when I finally do sit down and write it feels effortless to me. Because of that, I feel like writing is what I'm supposed to do. It's the only time I do anything where I feel totally comfortable doing it. Like when Aquaman goes to the beach.

When I start writing, whether it's a blog post or a story or whatever, it feels like I'm not even doing anything. Even this post right now. My fingers are moving and that's it. I'm not even thinking. I feel like the words are already out there and I'm just making sure they get recorded into some kind of medium. Does that happen to you? I bet it does.

Writing is also a compulsion with me. If I go a few days without writing anything I feel this tension (in addition to my usual tension) that is only resolved when I finally start plunking away on the laptop.

I don't have a job anymore and I'm having a hard time finding a new one. Get this: apparently the economy is really bad right now. Since my film studies degree is without value and my years of call-center experience can only get me another job in a call-center (or in my case, CAN'T get me a job in a call-center) I'm seeing writing as my only way out. Desperate, back-to-the-wall, all that. I'm working on a novel. Four novels actually. In between I write little one-page short stories. Oh and a couple of comic book scripts that if I ever finish I want Matt Page to illustrate.

When I say, even to myself, that I'm "working on a novel" I cringe inside. I might as well say "I'm having a midlife crisis" or "I just bought Writing for Dummies." But hey. Someone is writing novels, right? People are getting published. Stephanie Fucking Meyer is scrapbooking happily right this very minute. It can be done. People can write novels. I can do it if I try, right?

So I've gotta try. I have nothing but free time. Hanging out is all I do. I can write 400 words a day. I can write 1600 words a day. Maybe more if the holy ghost moves me so. I'm going to update this blog every day to hold myself accountable, even if no one reads it. Okay. Time to do some real writing.

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