From Wannabe to ReallyAm…
So many of us want to do it.
So many of us daydream, ponder, heck, even plan — charts, outlines, sticky notes, graphs, hell, even damn spreadsheets worth of planning.
Some even go as far as joining writer’s groups, thinking that talking the talk will make them walk the walk…
But then the driving “umpf” in us ebbs, we tuck away our plans, and we think, “Yeah, when I have more time, when the kids are grown, when I retire, when the grass stops growing…” blah, blah, blah, blah-blah.
Uh huh. Yep. Been there, seen so much of that.
Writing is like building a bridge, planting a garden, going to work. You know why? Because it’s work, that’s why. Blood, sweat and tears effort, as they say. And what happens if you don’t show up for work? No work ever gets done. Simple. Not rocket-science calculus here or I’d wouldn’t be writing!
This romantic notion that somehow art is created through a muse is a load of malarkey. As with any skill — practice, practice, practice. You won’t wake up one bright and sunny morning, throw on your writer’s sweater, grab your pipe or flowing chiffon scarf, sit in a romantic spot and pen the next Great American Novel, anymore than any of us would wake up, splash some paint on a canvas and be heralded in the Guggenheim.
If you truly want to create a piece of art with words, you have to accept that with that endeavour comes failure, acknowledging that with failure comes learning and future success!
If I could have a dime (it used to be a nickle…inflation…) for every gadfly who has crossed my path, talking the talk, wearing those academic spectacles, being seen at all the trendy watering holes, hanging out with the “In”crowd but actually writing NOTHING, you wouldn’t know I existed, for I’d be on my yacht in Marbella, Spain, wearing my full-length Chinchilla on chilly Mediterranean days, that’s what!
It’s work. Long, lonely, hours, weeks, months, years, a lifetime’s worth of work.
For your nummy information, the first sign that a Wannabe hasn’t got a clue is if he or she spouts the word FUN beside the word WRITING in any given sentence.
FUN is a four letter word.
Don’t argue with me.
It’s a fact.
Go Google it if you don’t have an actual dictionary (which if you don’t makes me wonder about you all the more…).
Oh, you say three letters?
I say FOUR! It’s a gosh-darned four-letter word to REAL wordsmiths who literally are bleeding on the floor to produce, fail, improve, produce and fail some more. I liken the calling to being a Nun or a Cop, only both have better work environments and better benefits!
So, you say, “Okay, B.J., how do I go about morphing from a Wannabe to a ReallyAm?
You accept that you WILL FAIL.
You accept that not all your works will appeal to all readers.
You accept that the public WILL criticize, critique, chastise, hell, in some cases, bloody well point and laugh.
And what’s more, for me, when I get Hate Mail, that’s a Home Run!
Noooo…Hate Mail is not my literary goal in Life, but with Hate Mail you know you have pushed some deep-seated cultural button in someone, and that can only be achieved through the betterment of your craft.
As children, we loved Story Time. We’d listen, we’d ask questions, and oftentimes, many times, we’d grab a crayon and pen out our own tales…of princesses and frogs and dragons and fire-fighters…okay, maybe not in the same story, but you never knew. And we were damn proud of our books! We’d make a delicious cover for them, stick them on the coffee table and stand with arms folded until everyone in the near vicinity of our Universe read every colourful line.
What happened to us?
Why did growing up steal that arrogance? That passion? That assurance, that determination, that knowledge that in hard work — crayon or keyboard — great fun and a fantasy bubble could be built for your readers.
My Advice: Return to the kid you once were, grab a darn crayon or keyboard, and accept with gladiator fury that works WILL be penned, they WILL be read, they might fail, and if they do, you will grab hold of that failure and rejoice in the lesson you have learned which will move you ever closer to literary greatness!
All your clever excuses? I’ve blood well heard them all. I could pen a book solely on that topic! Drop them. Drop the fear and the BS your mind is sending you, and say, “Today, right now, while the washer and dryer are going, while the baby naps, while the boss doesn’t follow me to lunch, pen that tale, create that bubble, for if you don’t, we out here will be lesser for it.
We will wait.
I will wait.
I’ll go for a coffee.