I hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot here, and I hope even more that none of you feel I am wasting your time. You see, I actually googled ‘blogging topics for writers’ because I’ve been sitting here for thirty minutes wondering what the hell I’m going to write about this week. I found a helpful little piece which suggested, quite simply, to ‘talk about your own writing.’ Easy enough, right?
Here’s the short version: I’m a young writer who has written a few books, unpublished, and is still learning a lot. But I love it, and I feel I have insight to share.
The longer story? I started writing seriously in 2007, during the summer before my Junior year in college (yes, I’m that young and proud of it!). I had this idea for a book called ‘Tim and Todd’s Great Adventures’ and, one day, just sat down and started writing it. Thankfully, I quickly got rid of the title and the novel evolved in to this fantasy-adventure story about parallel universes. Since completing that, I’ve finished drafts of two other novels and have started on two others.
It took a few years of writing for me to realize the types of things I write. Before, I was just writing (and, in some ways, I still am). But now I can look back and extract certain themes from my work. And it makes sense. A prominent characteristic of mine is that I think too much. Specifically, I constantly think about death, God, and existence with some dreamworld shit sprinkled in (not exactly in that order). For example, I watched this youtube video almost a year ago and the thought of its implications still keep my up some nights. As for death, I don’t think about it in a fantasizing, demonic way, but moreso out of curiosity. What is it like? What’s after it, if any? And that leads to thoughts of God. I believe in Him, but I don’t understand how certain things in the world can be.
All these questions translate to my writing, in one way or another. My first book, Parallels, dealt with multiple universes. My second explored life after death and dabbled a little in dreams. The third was a horror story that incorporated God, sins, and stories from the Bible. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about dreaming and perception, and I’m going to be starting on a project that explores this in depth. I also want to include my thoughts on/struggles with my perception of God and death. Basically, the book’s personality will be me…if I pull it off right, of course.
In terms of writing style, Stephen King is my favorite author and, for better or for worse, some of his style has rubbed off on me. I really enjoy making my characters quirky and flawed, and, at times, downright horrible. I like metaphors, sometimes too much. If any of you are fans of rap, sometimes parts of my writing can be comparable to a rap artist’s punchline. I admit, that’s when I take it too far. I like the idea of describing things using completely different life experiences and finding some parallel there. When it works, it’s satisfying. It makes the reader feel human.
I’m mostly a reader of horror and fantasy, so that’s what I write. My imagination can be twisted, and I spend time on the gorey details. I don’t believe in having perfect characters, and usually my protagonist will have some pretty undesirable traits.
In regards to my personal life, right now writing is high-priority in my thoughts, but not so much in practice. It’s hard to find the time to write and I am currently struggling with what I want to do. Do I want to pursue writing full time, a risk comparable to becoming a professional lottery player? Or do I follow other ‘dreams’ and hope that I can keep up writing along the way? On top of that, I’m torn between editing old work and starting something new. I’ve sent one of my books out to agents with no success and sometimes feel like I should have spent all that time writing and improving instead of editing and revising. Where do I go from here? Time keeps pushing on, even if progress doesn’t.
I would be robbing you, dear reader, if I didn’t talk about my insecurities as a writer (I’ve already touched on them a little bit). Currently, I’m having a hard time determining where my skill-level falls. I’ve had people be amazed with my work, yet others say I am slightly above average, if that at all.
To give a little background, I don’t think I was ‘born to be’ a writer. Math and science have always come easy to me while it would be difficult for me to define of the parts of speech from the top of my head. I just happened to love to read, and I read massive amounts of books from first grade on. I forced myself along this literary path, in a sense, without even knowing it.
Like anything forced, difficulties remain. Despite the amount of reading I do, my vocabulary is poorer than most of my friends. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘aren’t you a writer?’ when some word comes up in conversation that I’m not familiar with. I’m not privy to what parts of the brain are connected, but I royally suck at two things: 1) learning other languages and 2) remembering peoples’ names. I figure inability to retain new words is related to my deficiencies in these areas. While for a lot of people reading a new word in context and looking it up can be enough to at least remember the gist of how the word is used, I can come across the same words many times over the course of a few years and still not know what it means.
Rejection has gotten to me, and I currently struggle with the best way to improve my writing. I know the golden rule: read, write, and do a lot of both, but how do I know what’s good enough to spend the time trying to revise and get it out in the world as opposed to starting over because I haven’t gotten past the practice stage yet? How do I know what good writing even is? How do I incorporate lessons I learn from reading others’ work?
Either way, I have confidence that things will work itself out. I constantly have story ideas (I even have a Twitter account dedicated to tweeting them) and I’m just waiting for the day my writing skills grow enough to accommodate them. I don’t see myself quitting any time soon, and I don’t see the stress going anywhere either. But would success feel so great without hardship? I’ll let you know when I get there.
At the end of the day, I’m a lot like you: just trying to do what I love, get better at it, and be heard. As for where Scribophile fits in to all this? It keeps me in perspective. Being able to write this, for example, and see your feedback can be a sort of motivation. And I get to share my own insights and what I learn from living, reading, and writing. Sometimes you agree/commend/take away something valuable. Other times you point out my mistakes, and I learn from them. And for that, I am grateful.