So let’s imagine that you’ve made the leap to calling yourself “a writer.” By that I mean that you have now confessed fully and freely—both to yourself and the world at large—your intent to find some actual tangible financial success as a slinger of words. At this point it seems obvious to presume that you have placed some value upon both your creative time and your creative output.
At least, one would normally think this was obvious.
But what then to make of the all-too-common scenario of the struggling yet “serious” writer who pisses away great heaping gobs of time on pointless pursuits? Who fritters away creative juice by slumming on chat boards and blog sites.
Like here and now.
[Irony remains, alas, a bitch.]
I am a writer. I have been paid to write for many tears. I get paid to write even today. I hope and intend and expect to enjoy a great deal more (and greater) success from my writing in the coming years. Yet here I sit, trying to delude myself into rationalizing the decision to piss away an opportunity for creative progress in favor of toiling away on a blog post to be read by (optimistic estimate) 8 or 9 people. For free.
Screenwriting contest season looms larger and larger on the horizon, yet rather than wrestle the half-formed romantic-comedy out of my brain and onto the page, rather than fine tune the character motivation elements of my war drama, rather than work a final final completed draft of my co-written adventure (one that would allow me and the co-writer to co-exist on co-acceptable terms), I play the dangerously self-indulgent game of whining about that sad kind of person who wastes time with whiny blogsites.
How very “meta” of me.
Maybe I’ll hop onto a chat site and spend 10 or 90 minutes carping about the addictive waste of time which chat sites represent.
Or perhaps I’ll send a self-indulgent longwinded ranting essay to some pal via email, one in which I piss and moan about people who spend so much time pissing and moaning in longwinded emails rather than actually making useful progress on any front, on any project.
A lot of us writers have a bad problem with these seductive alluring waste of time distractions: blogs, chat, email, webrings. Every year some new cool distraction gets added to the mix, making it even a little bit harder to stay focused on filling the one blank page most in need of filling: the unfinished project sitting there on on the front porch of our minds. This, my pretties, is a problem, as that story—that script, that essay, that play, that novel—is not going to finish itself, nor is it going to proof, polish, pimp, market and sell itself. That is a task which falls upon the shoulders of the writer, but far too easily these days the writer is distracted by pretty lights and the siren song of self-absorbed navel-gazing.
“Admitting that you have a problem is the first step in overcoming a problem.” You hear that a lot. What you don’t hear is what the second step is supposed to be.
For a writer, I’m guessing it’s got to be something like “just shut up and write, dummy.”
Physician, heal thyself.
fighting to maintain B