Hmm. Let me think about that a little longer, and tomorrow I will start putting words on paper and make something of that idea.
I think it’s telling that in my own personal life “head canon” being a writer is my profession of choice. It seems like every writer that I enjoy is in constant battle with the little demon sitting on their shoulder telling them to clean up their work-space first or do a bit more “research” on the internet before starting. The distractions are endless and they’re much easier to deal with than the black sheet of paper or bright, white screen of an empty document staring you down with what I can only assume is a knowing scowl. And I read those writers talking about that, nodding my head in agreement. Yeah, man, me too!
It’s also telling in that to date I’ve written absolutely nothing of note or of use to anyone. Lots of lost papers from my college days. My one “great” work is my MA thesis: a study in academic wankery, forgotten and lost in the stacks at the NC State library. I have this blog, which, as loyal readers (hahahaha!) know, is updated at a “George R. R. Martin finishing his Song of Ice and Fire book series” pace. I have a few folders of unfinished short stories and poems on my computer–few of the pieces worthy of polishing or rewriting. And that’s about it.
Yet, in my head, I’m going to be a writer!
Even this little blog post is inadequate. For a while I was staring at that last line there–I’m going to be a writer–and thinking, yeah, that’s a good place to stop. Seriously.
I’ve always believed that each person has something that they’re really good at and that the lucky ones figure it out early in their lives and use that thing to their benefit. At this point in my life I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m good at one of two things: being average at a lot of things or procrastination. Neither of those are good things. My idea of “being a writer” let’s me do both those things at the same time! I can procrastinate and procrastinate actually writing anything, and then when I do actually get words down? They’re mediocre at best!
Anyway, what got me thinking of actually writing something today is my rediscovering of one of my favorite writers: Heather Havrilesky. I started reading her way back in college when she wrote for Suck.com (a long defunct site that can best be described as cultural criticism from ADD twenty-somethings). After that site went dark, I kinda lost track of where she went, but recently came across one of her essays, “How to Write,” and I remember now why I enjoyed her voice so much. So, go buy her book and read her stuff. It’s very funny and well written!