I have been thinking the last few days about writing. I fancy myself somewhat of a writer. I write grant requests for a non-profit. I've written articles and newsletters. I've written whole training manuals over a variety of (mostly banking or managment related) subjects. And for better or worse, I blog. I have a few loose stories floating in my brain that I have thought about working into a novel (or two), but can't seem to get a real solid idea out of any of it. I have written some chapters, but just this week sat down to read them again after an absence of some months.
They aren't good. It's humiliating really. I felt I was being so clever when I wrote the beginning to my big story, but now in rereading I just think it comes off as maybe nearly juvenile or at a minimum, unedited and raw. I've been better (from a writing perspective) than these chapters. At any rate, it's forced me to rethink not only about whether or not I'm cut out to be a writer, but what I maybe want in life in general. (And yes, this is a big topic for me.)
I think I work best in a collaborative environment. Some people are loners who have to do it all themselves. I am better at refining and focusing an idea. I'd make a great editor, probably, even though I don't often edit myself enough. (Who does?) How one gets to BE an editor anywhere I haven't a clue. I just think I'd be good at it.
Is the nature of being a writer to have self-doubt? To wonder if anyone will be interested in what I may have to say in print (or cyberspace) or if even I will be interested after a time? Certainly in rereading my text I have come to see how raw the work is and that I'm in need of a genuine tight idea to go with my spectacular setting. And how do people come up with names for characters or places anyway? Maybe I should join a writing club or something? Is there such a thing? I'll have to Google/Bing around looking.
But back to the collaboration thing. When I read books there are always long lists of thank yous from the authors to a myriad of people in their life who helped them (A) finish the work in the first place and (B) give advice or actually read and edit the work. Does that count as collaboration? I think I need a team, really. I work better on a team.
When my kids were young I used to make up bedtime stories off the top of my head. We (they) called them "Stories without a book". And they were usually of the ilk of campfire type stuff - mildly scary or fantastical. Its funny, but my 22 year old daughter still remembers some story I told them about a place I called "Diamond Lake," and she had to be maybe 5 when I wove that yarn. Obviously I can make up stuff when I have to. How is it when I have to WRITE it though, it's harder? Is it the commitment to the words? Commitment to the work?
I read alot about authors/writers. They all seem like driven individuals who are nearly compelled to write - like they HAVE to do it. They are letter writers and bloggers and twitterers and diarists. I'm not that way. Truthfully there isn't anything I feel that strongly about - that I HAVE to do it or I'll be sad, or feel "less than" or feel something is hugely missing for me. What does that say for me? I think perhaps I am more in love with the idea of being an author than acually becomming one for real. Like everything else, it's gonna take a lot of work. It's about making a decision. And I've been putting a few off for a good long while....
So writer's block be damned, I want to work on that story. I know I can do it. I just have to carve the time out (and what else do I have, really...?) and get to work. Hatchet Island, here I come. Now what exactly WILL be out there? Hmmmmmmmm.