on writing again
So recently a couple of things have happened with my writing. The first was that through desperation or inspiration I wrote a story and started writing a second, as yet unfinsihed story. Up until that point most of my writing had been in the form of a kind of personal journal with occasional forays into more experimental areas like imagined dialgues and so on. The second thing that happened was that I started posting some things to my WordPress blog. At first I just put up a couple of pieces, but then I started putting up every piece I wrote, and I was thinking more and more about WordPress, and pimpimg my blog with Amazon affiliations and Google Ads and links and pictures, and i started a ‘tech-binge’ whereby I was doing internet research into WordPress and Linux and blogging and widgets and moneterization.
So what I get out of this is the positive that some things are happenning and I am learning things about writing, as technique, as a contemporary activity, and as a personal process. One specific thing I have realised is that it makes a big difference who you think your audience is, the stuff I was posting to WordPress was a lot less risque than some of the things I had written earlier in the year. I am not sure I am totally happy about that and have resolved not to post everything to WordPress anymore. This piece, for example, is not intended for WordPress (I think) but it seems to be retaining the WordPress voice, which is interesting, and goes to show how much influence, even after, an audience, real or percieved, can have on my writing.
A second thing I have learned, about writing as a process for me, is that I am very early in my development as a story writer, and that stories have a dynamic all of their own that reportage, journalism, diaries, and letters do not have. In the earlier incarnation of this write every day thing I was concentrating on typing out the words that occurred in my head and trying t keep pace with them as they occured, sort of a stream of conciousness thing, I was getting ok at that, but a story is different, it isn’t all in your head at once or as easy as just skimming of the top of your mind, you have to think about it, plan parts of it, stuggle with it. Thats whats happening for me now with my modern day fairy tale about the little girl who escapes from a tall tower (commision housing flats) to find her prince charming (a little boy who goes to school nearby).
A third thing I have discovered is that writing is just the tip of the iceburg. So far in my project I have been sticking to just writing, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it, that I could write every day and not wuss out, and so far I am managing. But I didn’t bother to read what I wrote, I would literally hit the final full stop on a days piece and save and close the file, no looking back up the page, not even to see if it scans. I figured that after a hundred days I would allow myself the opportunity of reassesing both the work I had done so far, and the process by which it was done. So after you write, it helps to proof-read. Then theres publishing, in my case to WordPress. Oh, and editing, that has to happen too before you publish, proofing and editing, and re-writes, fixing up the bits that you don;t like, not just that you misspelled. And beyond that planning what to write. I didn’t need to plan my stream of conciousness stuff, but the story I am writing now requires planning, I have a little girl, and she has escaped from the tower, I have a little boy, and he attends school nearby, in the end the little girl gets to go to school with the little boy and play in the sunshine with the other kids and is happy, but getting from that A to that B requires some thought and probably a few scetches and drafts.
All that takes time, and focus. One thousand words are pretty easy to write in an hour or so, but a person could easily spend their whole day drafting, proofing, editing, re-writing, palnning, storyboarding, posting, linking, publishing, responding to comments, etc etc. So form here on, and especially when I take stock at the end of one hundred days, I need to think about what exactly I want to do with this, which brings me to the fourth thing I have learned.
I realise that while I want to write, and while I am managing to have a process and stick with it, I still don’t really know what I am doing it for. WhatI mean is, I have the begging of the journey fairly clearly in view, but the end is still very vague, and I am not sure how it all fits together. I wanted to try to write because it is something I have always been able to do and many of the people around me have not, have not read books, have not written stories, are not really interested. I am interested, and I thought I should give myself a chance to try and develop a skill that differentiated me from others I knew. I didn’t want to be an admin constantly hearing from my co-workers that I seemed overqualified, or too ‘smart’ for my job, I wanted to do what I was best at, even if it wasn’t a very practical thing to do, and reading and writing are probably the things I have the most skill in.
But why? What have I got to say? Am I just hoping to ply a trade and make some money tapping on keys? Like a programmer, but with english as my language? Or do I want to be famous? A novelist that can pull chicks and have people fawn over me? (sound nice.) Or do I have something to say, something important and original? (I don’t think so, honestly.)
What I would like to say I am doing it for, and what I would like to do it for, and what ultimatley I hope I’m doing it for, is to communicate my understanding of the teachings of the ancient sages and prophets so as to help people in their journy through life. I would like to be an artisan, and craft stories and words that taught people about morality and gave them a little knowledge, like the american teen comdies do, or King of the Hill.
But I have only just moved up form reporting my stream of conciousness to attempting some small fairy tale like stories, I havn’t even begun to be able to work in actual morals to the stories, that seems a very distant prospect at the moment, need to finish the second story first before I worry about that.
It’s like in the 40 Year Old Virgin, where the guy says that the message of the film Liar Liar is dont lie! I love that bit, because it is very true of a whole class of American comedy that seems to follow almost formal rules about moral consequence, and I love The 40 Year Old Virgin because it seems to try to move beyond those rules. Anyway, I digress, I just wanted to point out that I am still learning my craft, and that I am yet to really write any story, let alone a moral one, let alone one that transends morals, but that that is what I would like to do.
But I don’t know for sure that that is why I am doing it. I guess I have to try and remind myself that thats the reason I want to be doing it and kind of steer a course towards it.
Anyway it occurred to me a few lines back that maybe this is a WordPress post after all, but I will have to scan it to see that I haven’t named any names or confessed any conciets too awful for the outisde world.