Fellow Readers and Writers,
I’m going to get serious for a moment and discuss the act of writing. I don’t just mean blogging, but of writing personally outside of blogging, with a goal in mind to reach for something much, much higher than just a few stats boosters.
I have this “thing” where I don’t like to discuss what I’m working on as far as writing. In fact, I’m always a little hesitant about telling others about my Creative Writing program, and what that all entails. Sure, “Creative Writing” sounds a little silly for a Graduate Program, and many ask me what I plan to do with it once I graduate in July. I have many goals for after I graduate, but it will take many years, many different jobs, many rejections and hopefully a few acceptances before I make it to where I want to be in life. I don’t have a particular “plan” in motion. I don’t think any writer can have a direct “plan”. We will all fail many times, and it will painful, frustrating, and down right heartbreaking.
So, I will tell you what I’m working on as it’s much easier to say it in writing than in speech. Usually when someone asks me, I get really nervous. I start to blush, and sweat, and stutter my words as it’s a very complicated project indeed. I even get a little embarrassed, even when explaining it to those in my actual program who are going through this very same journey with me! I give them a vague answer and try to change the subject quickly. I guess I’m just reserved when it comes to my writing, and I’ve accepted that that’s just who I am as a writer.
Anyways, I knew going into my program that my thesis had to essentially be a book. It doesn’t have to be finished, but I have to have at least 110 pages of publishable work. The idea of writing an entire book is so daunting, and definitely not an easy task. I constantly re-write my work, and because I’m an entirely different person than I was when I first started a year and a half ago, more and more revisions begin because I can’t stand my “voice” from then. This big project is a memoir. I realize that I’m not even 24 yet, but everyone has a story to tell that is interesting. Many of my friends and family think that this story is just about “me”, but I’m here to clarify that it’s not true.
Picture it like this: It’s a big, boiling pot of my Nana’s Chicken Tortilla Soup. What’s great about soup is that you can add just about anything you want to it. There’s obviously the meat, which can be labeled as the events throughout my life that are important. Then there are the vegetables. Each vegetable is different, and represents a certain taste. This can be myself, my family, and my friends throughout my life that involve all of that meat. But how does each vegetable taste with the meat? Different, right? Not all of them go together, but it depends on your taste. This goes to show that each event is seen through the eyes of someone else, thus creating different perspectives and memories apart from my own. My goal in this book is to not only focus in on my own memories and emotions, but for my family and friends as well. This is to show my strengths and my weaknesses associated with these events and the people involved. It’s to see how I got to be the person I am now, why I acted the way that I did, and how all of the vegetables and the meat connect with each other. It’s a study of human nature. Last but not least, the tortilla chips on top, which are the finishing touches that add the spice and life to it. These are the scenes and descriptions outside of just “telling” you something. I’d like to “show” you these things.
I’ve always found it a little weird when people ask, “What are you writing about?” I don’t mean to sound rude, but it’s not really any of their business. This goes for fiction and poetry writers too. I’ve never flat out asked someone this. It’s a personal goal, perhaps a very personal story whether it’s true or not. Especially when I meet someone for the first time, I want to say, “Okay, sit down for a while as I tell you my life story.” You don’t want me to explain my life story for twenty minutes do you? Plus, it all sounds braggy and weird coming from my mouth. I’d rather just internally organize my thoughts and emotions and write about it all later. That’s just me though.
I decided to write this post because I no longer want to be afraid to tell someone what I’d like to do for a living. I know this may seem like it’s just a hobby, but it’s much more than that. This is a job, and a very hard one. I may not get paid, or taxed, or even noticed for quite some time, but I’m doing it. I work all day in my office, come home and get to writing and reading for hours before I go to bed. In between that, I exercise, cook dinner, and do whatever chores I need to do. I devote my time to it. Does it always work? No. Sometimes I’m not feeling particular creative that day, and that’s fine. But I always try to make up for the time I’ve lost.
Some myths about writers that I’d like to crack:
1. They are egotistical – This is true for every career, not just writers. I’ve met my fair share of writers in both undergraduate and graduate who have had ridiculous egos. Rid yourself of them. You don’t need anybody putting you down because they think they are the next Kurt Vonnegut.
2. We are snobs – No, we’re not. If it seems we are not talking much, or look “bored”, it’s not because we think we are better than you. It just means we are in our thoughts. I’ve met writers who can come up with an entire storyline for a novel in one evening. And guess what? You’re most likely a character in their future book. Don’t take any of this “snobbery” personally.
3. We are depressed all the time – Nope! All of my writer friends are perfectly happy and content. Think of it like acting. An actor needs to get into character in order to play the character right? Well a writer needs to get into character too. If their character is melancholy, they may find out what being melancholy actually means.
4. We always know what we’re talking about – An example, “Well, since I have my degree in creative writing, I can easily say that Fifty Shades of Grey is a horribly written novel.” While I do have that opinion about that book, I know not everyone does. Their opinion isn’t the only one that matters. So if you hear anything of the sort, please ignore it.
5. Our go-to writing place is a coffee shop – Absolutely not! The only time I write in a coffee shop is if I need a change in environment. I can’t always work in my bedroom or my desk. I sometimes need to get out and recharge. But I can never accomplish anything in a coffee shop. Far too noisy for my taste.
6. We bust out books like Carrie Bradshaw – Hell no. She just vomits her shit out on the computer with ease. Does she ever edit? Her whole life is a lie. There is no way that woman gets paid enough to buy Prada shoes and Gucci bags writing a small sex column. LIES. For many of us, it takes us years and years to finish a book. And for others, it takes them only a matter of weeks.
I guess this post is to raise awareness for writers. We are not all that bad. I promise. We have a place in this world too, and just because we didn’t spend our time focusing on business or engineering doesn’t mean we are useless.