Sunday, November 23, 2014

On Writing

Recently, a friend said to me, "Heather, you just turned twenty-seven, you have all the time in the world over there in Korea, and you haven't written a second book yet?"

Basically: What's your excuse? 

And I know that he was probably joking and he would feel terrible if he knew how much his comment has stuck with me this past week; but his words still stung. Less because he uttered them and more because I was already thinking them.

Lately, the tapes in my head have been:
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.
And...
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.
You don't have anything important to say.

And after awhile, you begin to believe just about anything you hear on a daily basis.

I've been a writer since I was in first grade. 
I've kept journals ever since I could write. 
I started a blog when I was nineteen. 
I wrote a book when I was twenty. 
I am a writer.

And every once in awhile someone will ask me, "When are you writing your second book?" and usually, I tell them, "As soon as you tell me what I should write about." That first book came easily through the desperate fingers of a desperate girl. It was all she could do to put those things on paper. So, it makes me wonder if I can only write well if I'm falling apart. And, in that case, if writing well is worth it.

I am not falling apart.
But I am not inspired either.
I don't know how to be a good writer.
I don't know how to make money writing.
I only know how to share what I 'm learning about the world.
And people like me are a dime-a-dozen.

Who doesn't know half a dozen melodramatic Millennials who want to be "discovered" simply for being awesome and talking about it online?

Many of the world's greatest writers will tell you that to write is to stretch and challenge a muscle. If you don't, it gets weak and flabby. So I've been working out. Every morning at 6:30am, I've been hitting the keyboard and busting out repetitions like nobodies business. Since November, I've been writing 1,000 words a day, so that by the end of 2014, I'll have roughly 50,000 words. In other words, a novel. It's an area I'm not comfortable in: fiction, nonetheless, science fiction.

When I work out at the gym, I am motivated by seeing results. But what are the results of all this writing? I just have words on a page. And while I hope that, surely, if I write often enough I'll get all the really bad stuff out and strike gold once in awhile, I'm not sure that that's how it works. 

But is it good?
Does it matter?
Would anyone benefit from reading it?

Many mornings I wake up and feel like all this writing is just a waste of time. Realistically, this novel will just sit on my computer for the rest of my life, because I just don't know what to do with it.

And so I wonder: If a writer taps away at a keyboard in the stillness of morning, does it make a difference?





















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