The changes in a writer
I won’t be posting a piece today. My in progress folder has a short story that I haven’t worked on properly for a while and my queue folder is empty. I don’t want to rush the story for the sake of publishing and after going through other possibles, I had one piece I could publish and I chose to submit it to CROSSING GENRES.
A few months ago, I would have just published for the sake of publishing or not looking like a bozo to my readers. I was writing primarily for the likes on Facebook or Tumblr, and few RT’s on Twitter. I decided to leave my comfort zone and see if I could still write without any kind of feedback. I stopped publishing on Facebook and Tumblr, and just on Medium.
Life without the echo chamber is a lot harder, but a lot more fair.
When I started writing again properly back in September, my writing folders were flush with possible ideas, old pieces that I had kept over the years, and fragments in which I could see potential. The process changed my perception of them. Some I didn’t want to revisit because I didn’t want to open up again old wounds “for the sake of art”. Some were just terrible or infantile or whiny. Some had nothing to say. I was able to salvage a sentence or an idea (like this one) from a few and discard the rest.
The commitment to writing forces you to be honest about what you think and what you want to write about. The publishing schedule I imposed on myself has been a great friend in making sure I’m disciplined, but it’s also been the voice of reason with ideas, like you really going to publish that?
Some of my recent posts have been poems. 10 years ago, I would have posted or submitted all my poems to a publisher or publication, thinking that they represent the very best of me. I’m glad I didn’t. They’re mostly poor and unfocused, surging with emotion, but lacking all from technique to execution. And more importantly, they all have to do with suicide. I don’t want to anymore publish a whole anthology of poems about suicide.
Those that I published took more than 5 drafts, frequent counsel of my friend Greg (my high school English teacher), and studying other poets. Writing is not a bodily function, I’ve found, it is a discipline and sport. Sorry, social media generation.
This is where I am right now. I am committed to publishing on Mondays and Fridays, but I have no more material ready in the production queue. I don’t want to be more committed to publishing than writing. Writing is more important. Writing every day is more important. Writing something, anything every day is the goal and the way.
So, for now, I will publish on Mondays and Fridays when I have something ready, that I’ve been working on for a while.