If you expect to succeed as a writer.

“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Thinking and Writing Writerly Thoughts

I’m thinking about writing, listening to The Beatles “White Album” and staying inside on this sweltering North Carolina day. You see, there are just days you have to sit down and write. It’s like literary diarrhea, spewing out of you.

Honestly, I think that’s quite possibly the grossest thing I’ve ever written in my life. Sad, but true. I can’t believe it’s still sitting there, waiting on people to read it — a gleaming beacon of WTF? staring you in the face.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of writing, the process of other writers, and what I can do to be a more successful writer. I’m not talking about the money side of writing, seeing as how that’s something deserving pages of thought. What I am thinking about is what can I personally do to be more successful at getting more words down on a page, while improving my technical skills and voice.

My best voice is my strong first person narrative. It’s who I am. I’ve been told this is the voice I should always use and never veer from. Yet, if I’m being completely honest, I’m jealous of y’all who write so well in third person. The article writers and classically trained journalists who can bang it out with no “I” attached to it. Oh, I know the “I” is there, because that’s your work, but you have to leave so much of it devoid of feeling and that personal touch. Always having to write the inverted triangle can be soul sucking, at least for me.

Does that even make sense? Like I said earlier, the verbal Tijuana Two-Step is strong with me today. My thoughts aren’t really cohesive and are kind of all over the place. Who am I kidding, if you’re still reading, you know they’re all over the place.

That’s when I come here. To dump all of those thoughts — emptying my brain of the scattered leaves floating around — so I can focus on the tasks I need to do for the day. While I realize all days can’t be super productive for writers, I do know that if I’m not writing, I’m miserable.

Lately, I’ve been pretty darn miserable. Actually, it’s been that way for quite a few years. You see, I’m happiest when I’m pounding the keyboard, letting the words flow, thinking creatively. But I’ve had a few things get in the way — self-confidence, fear, my coffee not being the right temperature, pencils aren’t sharp enough, PMS, nails tapping too loudly on the keys, or aren’t loud enough. You name it, I’ve tried it.

So here I sit. Processing what I am writing about, how I want to write about it, and questioning why I’m not writing it. You see, we can talk about the projects we’re working on all day long, but until we’re sitting down, bleary eyed, unshowered and alive, pushing ourselves to the limit to get every single word out, we’re not writing. It’s that point when you think you don’t have anything in you and then it roars out of you like a lion, time stands still and it’s just you in a vacuum, alone with your words, your keyboard, and you’re pushing to capture it all. Sleep can wait, because if you stop and your muse does not, you’ll lose the glorious train of words pumping down the tracks, racing to get to the next town on time.

At least, that’s what writing is like for me. I have to do it. I didn’t choose to do it. Writing chose me. I’ve often wondered, in my past lives, who I was. Was I a writer continuing my path here on this great big rock? If so, who was I? Do I find myself attracted to their work? Or do I find it difficult to read and that’s why I’ve never finished these novels of my past? I just know I expect a lot from me now.. and it’s time to give me, and my writing, the respect it deserves.