Here’s one of the ways I feel like a fraud.
I follow a lot of writers — here on WordPress, and across several platforms and internet spaces — and I have a handful of friends and relations that are writers as well. All of them have one unifying statement, when asked “How do you know you’re a writer?”.
They say, “I have to write.”
Then they crush brick with their bare hands, and it turns into a glimmering red jewel. They place it on their brow, and a diadem of pure light and awesomeness appears.
[Okay, that only happened once.]
You know what I mean — the type of artist that knows in their bones, that they will continue to make their art regardless of any discouragement, regardless of outside factors. Steven King is a good example — that man has retired, what – eight times now? Then a few months pass, and another 1200 page tome appears on bookshelves across the globe. The man literally can’t stop.
Since starting the blog — and for better or worse, publicly defining myself as a writer – it’s something that I’ve grappled with a little bit.
Because I can stop. Because I don’t have to write.
I’m a slacker by nature — I just turned 32 recently, and this blog, Lodestar, and THAT THING are the longest sustained creative projects of my life. I’ve always been more comfortable with art that had a clear expiration date. You finish the painting, you close the show, you crack the joke.
I think that’s why I’m so focused on my weekly deadlines for page counts on That Thing — I have a deep sinking sensation that if I miss a deadline — It’ll be that much easier to miss the last one, then I won’t be even a faux-writer anymore. The endless minutiae of life — plus abundant other creative projects would pull me away, and I’d never come back — never finish.
So if you have a compulsion in your bones to write — I envy you. But if you’re like me — if you have to continually crack the whip, and keep yourself on task — if you’re more than a little scared that you’re not going to make it to the end — I know your pain.
9 thoughts on “Jumpers jump, painters paint.”
More than a little scared is an understatement! I don’t know my book’s ending. It wrote itself thus far, and I don’t know the future. How the hell am I supposed to know if I can finish? I’m a lazy feicer myself. I’ve only ever had one good fiction idea, and I let it sit for over a year. *kick* But you are one of my reasons for starting it again. I won’t gush about your ability (again) but it makes me feel ‘better’ (read: less of a jackass) to see someone so talented struggling with the same issues I have.
Glad to know I’m not alone!!! Now get back to work.
I do have a passion for writing and it’s always been a part of my life. But at the same time I do have to crack the whip. I don’t love revisions. I don’t love every second of drafting. Sometimes it’s work. But then I reminded myself it’s work I truly enjoy.
I wouldn’t worry if you could stop writing and survive. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just makes you resilient. 🙂 And the fact that you stay on deadline and worry over letting deadlines pass kinda tells me the writing is important to you and something you want to hold onto.
Thanks, Kourtney. Sometimes it feels like writing is a kind of super power, and I’ve got the watered down version of it.
I’ve thought about getting “I don’t writing, I like having written” tattooed in a private place, so I know where you’re coming from.
I had to come with grips that I don’t feel compelled to write, per se, I feel compelled to tell stories. A lot of times those stories just spin around in my head and they’re made for an audience of one–me–which certainly doesn’t help with the self-confidence thing.
I think you have to be comfortable with how you write and how you work; I’m lazy and a little egotistical, so I had to learn some bitter lessons about myself. It’s a work in progress. But as long as I spend more time growing/writing/working than I do obsessing about it, it’s a net win.
Heartily agreed. When I look across the progress on That Thing, and just on the blog itself — I often wonder “Where did all this come from?”
It has been a suspicion of mine for a while that Stephen King actually died in 1987. The sum of his works, interviews, etc, were uploaded into a giant computer upon his death. This new King Machine has been spitting out novels, etc. ever since with a steeply sloping decline in quality.
Ha — there’s a spike of goodness every so often, but they are few and far between.
I’ll concede the Dark Tower series. Fine work of computer generated prose there.