So I want to talk about the good and the bad things that have been floating around my mind lately, with some reviews of my latest reads thrown in. It’s been a very productive start to 2017, and I feel the writing juices flowing more freely, and not forced out into concentrate when I desperately want them to. Firstly I want to talk about writing, being a writer, and the joys of doing so.
I saw a post on a writing site the other day that talked about the shame of being a writer, and I couldn’t help but *click* and have a look. People who wanted to be writers, who were writers, were spending their time typing away on their keyboards about how embarrassing and guilt-ladened it was to be a writer. It wasn’t just a few people, there seemed a healthy supply of these self-alienated sorts, but thankfully not too many.
I didn’t really understand what they meant at all. Sure I have days where i’m typing away, and I think “This is utter crap” but if that sort of thing doesn’t crop up once in a while then you must be some sort of new-age super artist. Confidence and art are intertwined, and while the inner voice can yell and sneer, you remind yourself that this is where you’re most happy.
Reading that these people struggle to even admit that they are writers to others and themselves, makes makes me wonder why they do it in the first place. Writing is one of those wonderful ways you can communicate and touch some personally without doing any actual work at all. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, and you should be proud to tell the people around you that you’re a dreamer, because at the end of the day that’s all writing is.
The more i think about it, the more I realise that all throughout my life my mind has been occupied by dreams, i’m pretty sure I have taken life un-seriously as often as possible, and I couldn’t suggest it more. During my academic years I didn’t feel I was actually learning anything new, but going over my own ways of doing things, I knew then that I didn’t want to study but create.
Writing is also a way to connect to you, both with your readers, and for yourself. Going over my most and hopefully last revision of Z-List celebrities, I couldn’t hope but see the patterns of thought unfold into the story. A world in which devils and demons run amok, and good people are not in control of their own lives, while insidious minds seem so free.
When writing the book I didn’t realise that my prior experiences with trust, depression, and fear would bleed through my subconscious into the pages for me to look and go “God I had some problems”. At the same time it has helped me look over the old, heavy memories and see them as nothing more than a learning experience. I know they aren’t who I am now, nor am I really any one character, while at the same time all of them.
Writing has helped me connect to myself, which in turn connects me to the world around me, and the people within. I can sometimes go a little overboard to prove something to myself, but that’s all part of finding yourself through what you love, and writing is certainly something I love. It makes everything make that little bit more sense, gives me a voice and a reason to share more, and keeps me being a child as long as I can.
As far as being insecure about being a writer is, you shouldn’t be upset for even a second because you’re doing something that matters to you, and often people belittle you for that reason because they simply cannot. I was out on NYE and having a conversation about work someone tells me that they should go soon because they have work to do in the next few days, and I said “Me too, although i’m a writer and I don’t really think what I do is work compared to everyone else”. He agreed without a moments hesitation and told me he worked in a warehouse, did I feel bad for the instant dismissal? No because he’s right. It’s not work, and if you’re sitting there squirming at your computer, or typewriters of our hipster cousins, then go do something different for a white and reset.
The biggest issues i’ve seen with writers is their own confidence, truly their own worst critics, to the point they don’t actually do any work at all. Forget all that real world application, and just focus on the words, just keep putting one after the other. The most important advice i’ve learnt is to get out of your head and just type, it’s what first drafts are for, it will come to you as long as you type.
Another topic I wanted to talk about was my current reading choices. I have just finished Ray Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” and David Mitchell’s “Ghostwritten” roughly within the same time, flipping through a morning of Ray, followed by an evening with David. The interesting thing was how much the two books complimented each other, both following the history of humanities cruelty, and the ascent of technology in a world which is more interested in its application than how it works.
I was left feeling a cold sweat as I flicked through the last pages of Ghostwritten, seeing Ray’s warnings of an ignorant faith in technology and the few that hold it. Both reminded me that we live in a world where the rising majority are happy to simply get on with things, playing with their toys, as long as the few at the top get things done. I don’t see the future as Orwellian, because I think those at the top are just as lost as the rest of us, but that won’t stop some blundering idiot squaring up to an inevitable dust off.
Both books are written in a short story format, Ray’s being a little more conventional and short, while David’s having those strange repeated moments you can’t help but notice. I really liked both styles as they complimented my moods over the few days that I read them. Ray’s quick shifting style between ideas would help me on those scatter-brain moments, while David gave me that urgent need to pay attention and remain completely engrossed.
I bought both because I wanted to read the first books of both authors, to see how they did it all this years ago, and in both I found: Love, anger, and laughter which are all important in showing that it’s more than just words designed to make you hallucinate while saying at slices of a dead tree. Good authors share themselves in their work, and you come away from the book enlightened, finally remembering some part of you that you’ve forgotten along they way.
If you’re a worried writer, or perhaps someone wanting to give it ago, my advice would be to write from the heart. Readers are like children, they can smell bullshit when they see it, even if they can’t quite figure out why. Don’t try and do what sells or what people like, because it’ll never work, and if it did it wouldn’t be you. Write what makes you happy, pay attention to the world and don’t just shut it out, because then the ideas will come to you, like harassing flies in the summertime.