Why Write? — A Rant

Okay, before any of you say anything, yes. All of my past posts have been rants, and it is very likely they will continue to be. But at least I kind of knew where I was going with them. This one, I have no idea. And maybe that’s because I’m ranting about writing itself.

So I write. Like, beyond this whole medium thing. Beyond the kind of more problematic and personal stuff I keep in Onenotes. (Yeah. I have problems. All of this barely scratches the surface of the problematic thoughts I harbor)

I write fiction. Or, more accurately, I’d like to.

I don’t exactly remember when I started thinking “Hey, I’d like to write a story.” I think it was sometime around our 10th grade Korean class, when four of us had to come together and write a short story. It was a really fun experience, and it coincided with me getting closer to a few friends (these were different people from the ones I worked with in class) through our mutual love of “light novels”. While the genre/medium is less than well defined, my impression of these books are that they’re basically the equivalent of harlequin novels for guys. So mostly for entertainment. (Is anything not for entertainment? Or can it not be for entertainment?)

So four of us got together and started to write our own stories. We set a weekly deadline, a word limit, posted our work in a private facebook group, and were obligated to read each other’s work and comment on it. It actually worked pretty well, and we kept writing regularly until we got too busy to do the once a week thing because of college admissions and stuff. But that’s kind of beside the point here.

As all people with creative urges know, telling yourself “It’s the process I love” only goes so far. (If this isn’t the case and you always enjoy what you do, I’m pretty sure that mindset will get you results.) Sooner or later, you start growing expectations. Aspirations. Goals. You want to do better. You think you can.

Then you realize you can’t. And this is where the questions start. Is it because you’re self-learned? Do you need to change your style? Do you need to read more? Fiction? Non-fiction? “Writing Fiction for Dummies?” What do people like? Should you target a certain audience? Should you not? Is this interesting? Is this a good premise? Is this a relevant topic?

Smaller questions lead to bigger ones, because you know you need to think simple. What should you write? What you know, but ultimately what you want to? After all, nobody’s forcing you to. You’re an amateur. You write for your own enjoyment.

Or do I? Do I enjoy writing? Do I spend more time thinking “Hey! That’s a good idea?” or thinking “God this is so horrible please take me now”?

You find yourself stuck, because you want to do this thing but somehow everytime you sit down to do it you bore even yourself to death. Is this something I just need to power through? Am I just being lazy? Am I too distracted? Is Writer’s Block just an excuse? Do I even want to write? If I have to power through all this, what would the reader think? What’s to stop the reader from going “Well, I’m done with this. This is boring.” and leaving? Should I even care about the reader?

Does this seem unorganized? (This isn’t a rhetorical question, or at least it isn’t one directed at me) It probably does, because I have no idea how to answer any of those questions either.

I think I want to write. I think I want to write for my enjoyment, and that the results don’t matter. I want to go back when things were simple, and I could just go crazy on the page. When I typed out words like crazy and didn’t even second guess myself. I knew it was bad but didn’t really care. I liked it. But somehow I can’t. None of my stuff interests even me.

When you start to lose interest things in the activities you thought you loved, you start to lose interest in life altogether. After all, if I can’t even do the things I like, how will I do all the other things in life I don’t? Or more like, why should I? If all of this is just an endurance test, why endure it at all? To what end?

I know, that got real dark real soon didn’t it? Can’t help it though. The past few paragraphs are kind of a literal representation of my thought process every time I sit down and try to write. So kind of like Ulysses, but without the artistic value.

And you know, I don’t even care about it being “good” stuff in the sense that I write solid sentences, choose words well, have good flow etc. I just want people (and me) to enjoy my writing. Because that works. That’s kind of where you start. But once you hate your own stuff you know that you kind of can’t expect anyone else to like it.

Maybe I should stop writing. And I think I should. I try to put myself on hiatus. I decide “Okay, this writing thing is clearly not working out. I should stop, take a step back, and gain some perspective. You know, read, see movies, tv shows, etc. I can fill myself up material. That will help me.”

But at the slightest hint of an idea I go “Yes, this is it. This could actually work this time!” And what do you know, I’m about a thousand something words in and think “Wow. This is bad.”

What’s worse is that it’s always the same problems. It starts too slow. No tension. No conflict. Boring. Boring. Boring. And it would be okay if at least you enjoyed it, but you don’t. So all you’re left with is a (generously put) half-finished story and a lot of self hate.

A friend told me that he finds the writing part most enjoyable when writing a story, and honestly I can’t even be jealous of him. It just makes you go “Oh, that’s right. That’s how you’re supposed to be feeling. Like actually enjoying this stuff?” But you don’t, and you quickly understand why some people get their stuff read by publishers and some don’t.

Don’t wallow in self-pity. Yeah, great advice. Maybe I’ll try that after I go out for a run, eat three meals a day, and get regular sleep and exercise to cure my depression. (Jokes on you, I can’t get regular sleep because I work at a fucking subway station)

Am I throwing a tantrum? Well duh. Why the else did you think I opened this fucking blog?

So, where do I go from here? No fucking clue. Having writer’s block for about a year really puts you in your place. I wish I could either A) actually stop writing/wanting to write at the slightest given opportunity or B) actually enjoy writing again, but somehow I’m stuck with C) write at every hint of an idea and quickly realize neither you nor anybody else will ever like this and revel in self-hate and pity.

But then again, that’s most of my life. So thanks again everyone who powered through this joke of a post, and hope you all have a bright and cheerful day. Except you, Mr. Lee. I hope you get hit by a truck and burn in hell.