I wanted to make my 100th post something special and out of the ordinary, but I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I decided to recruit the aid of my faithful readers (*coughfriendscough*) to suggest ideas. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to write about their suggestions, so once again-thankful as I am to you guys for your suggestions-I’m just gonna do things my way as usual.
There comes a time when writers get sappy and decide to share their thoughts and experiences on writing, and this will be my first time doing so. Most of you don’t know this, but I’ve actually been writing for longer than you think, something like eight to ten years in total. In that time, I have sent many creations to their doom if they weren’t lucky enough to be worth salvaging. And I mean many. For example, there was a story I was struggling with since the age of 14. It was a realistic historical fiction (“Oh, you artists and your labels!” some will say while reading this) set in World War 2 that actually started as a work of fan fiction based on the incredible video game Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. It started off quite well-I had drafted up characters and their backstories, had outlined the whole thing, and was actually quite proud of myself for coming up with a tale that would have stood out among the ranks of mediocre wannabe masterpieces of modern literature. Yes, I felt quite ahead of my time and thought everything would work out. Sadly, whenever pen met paper I spent more time scratching words out and condemning sheets of paper to death by garbage cans than fulfilling the dream I had laid out for me. These sort of things do a number on us creators-whether writers, musicians (don’t even get me started on my aborted compositions), etc…-and the effects are devastating on the ego. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.
I can’t remember if this next bit has been going on since before or after the story I just told you about, but for the longest time I felt like everything I wrote-no. Every single idea that came to my head was total shit and that I would be laughed at for even suggesting them or writing them down. Worse yet, there was always the nagging fear that I was copying a previously-written work without even knowing it (there’s a word for that, I forgot what it was). Not surprisingly, this played out during my teenage years and through most of my undergraduate years. Yeah, I was a bit of a neurotic whelp in those days, and despite some positive feedback on my works, I hated everything about them and decided I wasn’t cut out to be a writer. At least until I took introduction to creative writing last semester. It’s ironic that the bulk of my portfolio consists of poetry, considering that I never intended on writing poetry prior to this year since I considered it to be “candy-assed” and “pretentious”, among other things. Turns out I was quite good at it and thus cranked out more poetry than I ever thought I would, not to mention that the positive feedback for my work in that class-including a short story I published here a while back-helped push me back into the game.
Now that I’ve put my years of writing in a nutshell, here are my thoughts on writing as a whole: first off, it’s a royal pain in the ass. If you commit to it, it’s going to take a lot of time and energy out of you, sometimes turning you to a shriveled, emaciated Gollum-like being that fears the sun and scurries only from the coffee machine to the desk for fear of losing inspiration. It will also, as I’ve mentioned, test your self-esteem and your creativity, as well as productivity. In short, it will consume you. It will make you or break you. But one of the many pros of writing is that you’re always going to learn something about yourself or the process as a whole, whether from your own experience or from the massive community of writers you’ll encounter from all over (friends, internet, etc…). You’ll not only learn a lot from them but you’ll also realize that you’re the only person who follows certain writing habits. For example, I’ve taken to following the blogs of a few authors, the one who comes to mind at this moment is that of Romanian author Christian Mihai. From reading his blog I realized, among other things, that it wasn’t odd of me to not reveal details of projects to people (which I’ve done before, only to have the projects in question tank). So I guess one way to look at writing is a lot like life: you always learn something, and no matter how odd or alone you feel, you’re never really alone.
So what advice would I have to offer for the budding writers? For one, never discuss projects you’re working on, or at least many details about them if you’re looking for feedback on what you’ve gotten so far. If you are going to go ahead and do that, limit that scope to as little people as possible, and be selective with those people. Something else I could offer is this: never ever be afraid to draw inspiration from other forms of media-music, art, plays, etc…-or other pieces of literature, but be careful not to plagiarize. The most important piece of advice I could offer writers is this: ALWAYS WRITE. If you’re a writer, then your alleged role in society should be second nature to you; even if you aren’t writing, speak as you write and write as you speak. If an idea zips into your head, have something handy to jot down at least some bullet points before it escapes; overestimating your memory should be listed as a cardinal sin amongst writers as ideas are transient and, contrary to what Allan Moore once wrote, can flicker and die (at least if unattended). Last but not least, I’m going to quote this writer-whose name escapes me now-on his thoughts of so-called “rules for writing”: F*ck the rules.
So that concludes the 100th post for Bits and Pieces. I’m actually surprised that I made it this far and even more so that you, the audience, have been with me for this long. For that I am very grateful and wish I could thank each of you individually for all the time and support you’ve given me and this blog. I now have more reason to keep pushing forward with this blog and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. So until the next post (which should be pretty soon),
Y’all take care now.