Saturday, November 14, 2009

So you want to be a writer?

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

-Chales Bukowski

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I wanted to take a moment to discuss my writing process (and to find another way to put off the actual writing). It can be very difficult for me; but it makes no sense to me why it should be so.

Today, for instance: I decided some time yesterday that today should be devoted to
  1. Writing (Catching up on my Nano book, blogging some-any-thing, scripting more Rotworld)
  2. Laundry (I really have an awful lot of it and need to do more. Right now)
  3. Drawing (Been working on the Rotworld storyboards, character designs for a web comic about the horrors of working at the W/D, and TQU - which you probably don't know about yet, but I don't want to spoil [spoilers coming soon]).
So, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine and I turned on some music (I started with Regina Spektor, but gradually moved over to Amanda Fucking Palmer. That album just finished and I haven't put anything else on my recently re-formatted PC. Maybe some Cash? Anyway...

Filled with dread, I took a seat before the cluttered, cramped, dirty drinking glass-infested space that is my writing desk. I logged onto Facebook, because - well, you've got to tell people you're writing, don't you? Then a quick Twitter and a couple more stumbles. Check out my RSS feeds.

Why am I putting this off? I asked the mess on my desk. The answer, of course, was fear. Fear that I'm not good enough, fear that I'll never finish by the "deadline," fear that I don't really like writing after all, and it's just something I say to people to make being a directionless bum sound more palatable.

Eventually, I found the keyboard and my fingers made there way into the story and Gan began seriously to flow. And it was good. It was fun. Writing a story for me... I know what story I want to tell, and it usually comes out, at least, similar to that; but I never really know what's going on until it happens. But still...

I went to Taco Bell for some Bean Burritos (no cheese, sub guacamole). I came back and sat down filled up with run-for-the-border goodness (which, of course is nothing like actual goodness); and...

I couldn't do it. I didn't want to. I didn't think I'd be able to. I didn't know how to start or where to begin. Picking up where I left off seemed like a horrible idea. I just completely fail as a writer and there's no fucking reason for me to keep doing this. There's no real creativity and imagination in me anyway. Fuck it.

So I diddled around on the internet some more, wrote a few comments on Facebook. Looked at some friends' MySpace changes. Finally, I looked at someone else's Nanowrimo stats and she (and her buddies) were writing. Getting it done. I tried again. I just put my fingers on the home rows and started fucking typing.

And it was great. The story moves itself along nicely, the characters seem to know what they want, even if I don't. The thing doesn't quite have a mind of its own yet; but it wants to go somewhere. It wants to be told.

Something new happened today. I wrote something that made me cry. Maybe I'm turning into an old woman. I don't know. I've only known these characters for a week - well, I've known one of them for over a decade; but not like this. I didn't know this about her, and - well, that was new.

I ran out of laundry detergent. My sister was going to the grocery store in a little bit, so I asked to go along. I decided to take a little nap until then, then write when I got back. We ended up going to Dragon Cafe with friends. It was nice. I always forget how much I like Edamame until you put Edamame in front of me and I start eating it.

And we came home and here I am again. Paralyzed. It seems that whenever I'm not writing, I cannot do it, I'm going to suck at it, no one's ever going to read it and if they do they're going to hate it so much they're going to come over to my house and take a dump on my front lawn. And then somehow -

when that miracle happens -

-when I start writing and I find the story and I begin to understand it again... Nothing else matters. It doesn't have to be written and I don't need to write it; but I get to - and it's fucking fun.

I'm a writer, a storyteller, because, on those rare, wonderful occasions when I'm writing, telling a story - I'm home. I'm doing what I was put here to do. And fuck you if you don't read it, or if you don't like it. And who the hell takes a crap on someone's front lawn anyway? What the fuck's wrong with you?

Now the trick is to start writing. . . . . .C'mon!

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