Monday, July 2, 2012
First off, I have no idea where this desire to write came from. Space aliens MUST be involved! I can remember reports in school that I waited until the night before to complete, and I did not enjoy it at all! Things change I suppose, and it's just one thing in me that has been improved with time.
When I had a letter to the editor of a newspaper published for the first time, I felt inspired. It was surreal to have a voice and put it out there for all to see. When Dennis Owens, a local TV reporter, saw my letter in the Patriot News and wanted me to appear on the news, I REALLY saw how powerful the pen can be. I wanted to do more...
Starting this blog was a way for me to express my thoughts in a way that was affordable and accessible to others. The first time I pushed the button to post, my hand was shaking! Anyone who knows me knows I stay pretty even. The highs not too high, the lows, not too low (even when the stinkin Steelers win.) On THIS day, my sweaty-self was excited! Now, who will read it???
As a writer, I want to be entertaining. If you can't be interesting enough to hold someone's attention, the message will never be heard. It is very hard to gauge if you are or aren't using friends and relatives. They will be as nice to you during your journey to publish as the family was to those awful singers on American Idol. Nice is not always honest. I asked around trying to get some feedback from strangers and stumbled over Melissa Bell from the Washington Post. I had inquired to the paper and asked for help and Melissa answered.
She was kind in saying “It's wonderful to see someone so passionate about writing. It does get under one's skin.” She followed that with “You obviously have talent and something to say.”
it was nice to back up the positive remarks made by others and I made up my mind to pursue this to wherever it leads. That is still in progress. I don't have any specific dreams or desires (Now that the Oprah show is over!) to be the next great author. I just seem to have some things to say and I'd like to see if I can keep folks interested in finding out about it. OK, maybe I'd like to meet Tyra...
The process of my writing is rather odd. The mood that inspires me to put pen to paper comes and goes. I don't write every day or even every week. I have tried to be more active in my efforts, but it seems when I force the ideas, they turn out to be crap. Patience, it seems, is my friend. “Experts” will tell you to write every day, but I think a bit different. I think if you practice writing crap, then crap will be what you become good at. I refuse. The fantastical part is, when the words come, they flow like a stream coming down the mountain. It is so easy and I rarely change a word. So much of what I posted here has been done in minutes, with no rewrites, no glaring changes, nothing. The big test is reading it months later and having the same feelings as that day come back. I wish I could describe it better. It's very, very cool.
The next step once the words are out is figuring how to get people to notice it. I'm not shy about asking folks to read me, but that is a very small scale. It will be a challenge to see how many people will take time out of their lives to see what I have to say. There are an awful lot of writers trying to do the same thing.
I noticed the East Shore Library was having local published authors come in and take questions about their own writing experiences. I not only attended, but found out about a writer's critique meeting held that same night.
I attended not knowing a thing about what they did or how they could help. I'm glad I did. Everyone was willing to share their knowledge and make it easier to get these stories to the masses. They were interesting, passionate, and down to earth. Their perseverance and belief in their abilities and future success was admirable. To be a part of that group can be nothing but good in my efforts. While I didn't have any examples to pass around, I got an idea of what to bring the next month, hoping it wouldn't be too pedestrian.
When I handed out “Kick Him To The Curb” to the group, that strange, excited, nervous, shaking feeling returned. This was the first time I would have people reading my stuff in front of me! Oh jeeze! What if they hated it??? Could Scotty beam me up, never to be seen again? It was a relief that, not only did I get more than a few laughs, I received nothing but positive feedback from a bunch of men and women who knew waaaay more than I did about the mechanics of storytelling.
I was reminded why I hated English! Too many rules to follow and very rigid formulas to adhere to. Luckily, I already decided to self-publish, so having a specific format wasn't important to me. I feel being true to what I want is more important than making one of my creations “marketable”. Should it matter what SELLS? It reminds me of a golf coach. He will try and teach what has worked in the past, but as everyone knows, if you do what's been done, you will only get what's been got! I wanted to follow a different path.
I know a lot of people have altered their creations in the name of success. There is nothing wrong with it, if you are willing. I wonder how far some will go, though. I question how many would expose themselves, inside and out, for the sake of fame and fortune. Obviously there are more than a few. I doubt I'm one.
You can have all the Trumps, the Kardashians, the Hiltons, the ones who seem to have no limits on what they will do to get their face on TMZ or to make a buck. Where does self-respect cross into embarrassment? What would YOU do if given the choice: be famous for something that you didn't want to do or just be yourself? They say everyone has a price...
I'm enjoying the challenges of doing this thing called writing. I enjoy hearing what people think after reading it, good or not so much. I enjoy coming up with the next thing to create. I enjoy it all.
I only hope you do too...