Archive for November, 2007
In the past, I have been a writer. In the future, I hope to be a writer. But right now, I am not a writer. For the past couple years I’ve been administrating a website for readers, writers, and poets. At some point in my life I’d say I’ve been all of those things, but now I’m only a reader.
Why do I say I’m not a writer? Because there is a saying in the writing world, “A Writer writes.” and I simply don’t write. In late spring of 2006 I attended the Orson Scott Card writing class that runs in conjunction with his Literary Boot Camp. My roommate for that time was Jamie Ford, who was attending the full “Boot Camp” program. He had done a bit more writing than I in the past, and was obviously in a more motivated state as he was dropping a few hundred more bucks than I was to attend the workshop. After leaving the class I was motivated to write, as was he. The difference was, that he actually put his butt in a chair and wrote something, a novel (based on the short story he workshopped at the boot camp). I came back home, and wrote a few paragraphs here and there, started and stopped some stories, and before two months had passed, was no longer a writer.
I’ve said I’m “only a reader”, but that isn’t a whole truth. While I’m not a writer now, I am still a student of writing and the writing craft. I study form and style of those books I read, I notice plot and structure, and characterization (not in an entirely academic way, I still enjoy the reading). I read books on writing, look at what does and doesn’t work in various forms and genres of writing, and emerse myself in the world of words.
While I know that all of this study and thought won’t make me a writer, any more than all my study of baseball well let me pitch a split-finger fastball, but it does have some preparatory value. The problem is that it is so easy to forget that the value is more like reading a cook book, and less like cooking. If I read the recipes, and watch the great chef’s work, when I do set myself to cook a meal, I’ll have more knowledge to base that act on. However, what I won’t have, until I actually put something in the pan to cook, is anything to serve, or eat, of my own.
For all the knowledge of writing I, and anybody else, have, there is but one piece of advice that simply must be followed if you’re going to be a writer.
Put your butt in the chair and write!
I’ve known this advice all along, but have yet to follow it. Today I purpose to become a writer. Today, I will write.
PS: Yes, I realize by writing this I’m negating my own argument of sorts, but this is more of a confession than actual writing, or maybe it’s a hopeful first step to become a writer once again.