author, fear, fiction, first draft, new author, new novel, new novelist, new writer, novel, novelist, obstacles, procrastination, random thoughts, unpublished, unpublished author, unpublished novel, unpublished writer, writer, Writing
We are often confronted by ‘cants’, you can’t do this… you can’t do that… You can’t write a book… You can’t draw, you can’t act, whatever. The only thing more pernicious than the ‘you cants’ are the ‘I cants’. If you’re telling yourself you can’t do something, create something that someone else will want to read, see, hear, watch, experience, then you are surely lost. Write. Draw. Paint. Sculpt. Do whatever. Any day of writing (or creating) anything, even crap, is better than any day writing nothing at all.
Something else we need to watch out for is ‘should dos’ and their cousins the ‘have tos’. Both terms indicate doing something more or less against your will. None of us have time for that. If writing is something you have to force yourself to do, find a creative outlet that is a ‘want to.’ I’m not talking about the normal procrastination that we all go through, the voice that tells us it’s okay to watch the Firefly marathon this one time instead of writing. I’m talking about the started novel that still sits on the corner of your desk where it’s sat for the last six months and you dread looking at and makes you miserable just thinking about. Find something you like doing and do that. Sure, as I’ve mentioned here, I hate my story. I hate my characters. I hate the plot, the world, the tech I’ve created, I hate everything about it. But I love writing, so I come back to it. If that isn’t you, turn that ‘have to’ into a ‘want to’. Maybe it isn’t novels, but screenplays you should be writing. Or poetry. Or short stories. It might not be writing at all. Find something that gives you joy to produce. Yes, it’s work, but I don’t think it should be like going to a job that you hate and is driving you to suicide.
The snobbishness of writers (or more frequently, people that talk a lot about writing) I find irritating. They like to say because you haven’t read Milton, or Proust, or Satre, or Balzac, you can’t be a serious writer. Screw them. Read what you like. I ask them if they’ve read Keegan, Churchill, or Manchester. Have they read Grant’s Memoirs, or Caesar’s account of the Gallic Campaign? How about Heinlein or Dick or Tolkien? We all have books we like and books we don’t like. I’m very happy wading through an account of an obscure battle from the mists of history, but I don’t care for most of the writers on the NY Times bestseller list. Does that mean that I’m a fool, or that they are hacks? Nope. It means different people have different tastes. If everyone liked the same thing, all there’d be on TV is Survivor and Gilligan’s Island reruns. Read what you like, what brings out the joy and wonder, or fills that hole inside you. Don’t be ashamed of what you like to read.
Finally, write. Just write. Pick up your pen. Turn on the computer. Open the pad, the journal, whatever. And write. If that’s what you’re going to do, what you want to do, then just do it. Don’t worry about if it’s crap or not. Just put the words on the page and let them come. As they say in film, ‘We can fix it in post.’
PS – I think I’m due to shell out some thanks to the people that read this blog in one form or another. Somewhere just over 900 followers over three media, assuming my math is correct. I treasure each and everyone of you, especially since that is about 899 more people than I’d expected to have any interest in what I might say. Thank you again.
PPS – If any of you have any questions or things you’re curious about, the door is always open. Mention something in the comments, hit me up on Twitter (@jamesgglass) or shoot an email to jgglass(at)outlook.com
PPPS – Did I remember to say thank you?