If you write, I hope you write because you love it. I hope you look at your cumulative word counts and reread your stories and find delight in them, because that’s the point even before sharing. Feeling defeated lasts for a microsecond. Putting down the words makes my bones hum with happiness, and that’s something I cart around with me every goddamn day.
Whenever I used to think about New York City, before I’d actually visited for the first time, I had a few immediate knee-jerk associations based on a handful of pop-culture references that I’ve never really liked all that much. Let’s be honest: I grew up being a little bit rebellious and a little bit of a tomboy, so shows like Sex and the City and Gossip Girl never really spoke to me. They talked about an idealized life in a big city where it’s all about the glamour and the cosmopolitans and the clothes. Louboutin? Please. When I was fifteen, I wore Doc Martens.
Another year drops into our laps and while we’re all baffling over where time went, I’m looking at the next three hundred and sixty five days with the sort of trepidation that indicates that yes, this is another year closer to the inevitable and another year to engage in that morbid little danse macabre that sort-of looks a little like a Charlseton on steroids. Time is fleeting, and all that, and we’re shuffling all the more quicker to the point in time where the only thing we will be shuffling is the dirt over our heads.
It’s the last chance to get a few final words down on paper to log your counts for the twenty thirteen calendar year. I’m locking in this afternoon to do a bit of work on Wake the Dead to see if I can raise these totals a bit before midnight, so these numbers might change a bit by the evening. In the meantime, how did you do this year?
As it goes, I’ve caught the midwinter cold. I managed to stave it off all autumn, but it’s decided to hit and run. Should be back up and functional in a couple of days, but for the moment: I am the Queen of S’not. S’not feeling great, s’not sleeping, s’not capable of doing much more than drinking tea and reading books and coughing up everything that is unholy. On the bright side: I’ve redone my 2014 budget while in the midst of being gross and couch-bound, and it looks like I’ll be backpacking in Europe again this fall.
Of the few people I’ve spoken to about writing who don’t come equipped with creative writing degrees, I’ve found that we usually have one thing in common: there’s a willingness to self-educate as much there is to write like a bat out of hell. I can’t say I read a ton on writing practice, but I do have a few staples in my arsenal that act as a touchpoint whenever I feel like I’m getting rusty.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a bit of a book slut. I love books. I own roughly six hundred physical book-shaped things, and many more digitally on my iPad. These numbers don’t count my comic book collection. Sadly, I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d like this year with work obligations and writing commitments, but the bright side is that having a limited amount of time to be curled up on the couch means I try to make the most of it. I try to consume the books that turn me into an obsessive nerd — that takes a special type of story, with especially special characters.
I often wonder how other people arrive at the conclusion that they’re writers, or that they need to write to sustain themselves (or they’ll go crazy.) I don’t often ask for origin stories, because a lot of the people that I know who consider themselves writers have been doing it so long that they’ve forgotten the spark that catalyzed into a consuming craft. They just do it because they have to. They do it because they love it. They do it because if they don’t, something dims behind the eyes and a little part of them starts to wither and curl. I know that feeling. Not writing is a little death.
Not everyone is going to love what you do, or love you for doing it, but I’m getting to that. The important thing is not them — it’s definitely you. YOU need to love it, and YOU need to be an active participant in your passion, because there isn’t anyone else in the world equipped to do it for you. No one has your brass. No one else has your ambition. No one else can tell your story. Got it?