Because I am getting older, I've started looking back at things, being all introspective and deep while I chart the course of events that led me to this point in my life. If I had to find one word that would define me it would be story. From books, to comic books, to movies, TV shows and plays I love a good story. If I'm not consuming one, I am creating one. I am at my happiest when I get lost in the moment with the only sounds I hear are my fingertips tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard as my eyes watch the number of words I have written steadily grow letter by letter. It's a thrilling feeling few people understand. Not enough people create. Not enough people write.
A Writer Writes
What is a writer? Some people think a writer is somebody who sits there and makes things up all day long. This is partly true, a writer does make up things all day long - they may sit at a desk, a coffee shop, a park bench, the back seat of their car, or even lock themselves in their dark closet. Writing may seem like an easy job to some, anyone that thinks that or says it openly probably hasn't done much of it outside of school. Certainly they haven't done much of any creative writing. Creative being the optimum word here.
Creativity comes from a weird place. One must shut off their brain, shut down all of their peripheral senses and face a black sheet of paper, or a white empty word processor page. You have to stair down that blinking slash and wait for your fingers to start moving. Once they've started to move you have to do everything you can to ensure they keep moving lest you lose your train of thought or get distracted and stop. You dare not stop. Ever.
Writer Thou Art God.
To think of creative writing as a simple process would be a callous assessment. Would you consider the work a pro athlete does on the field, court, or the back breaking pressure an Olympian faces as easy? Writers are Olympians of the written word. We command each letter to form a structure of words and sentences and paragraphs like an artist wields a pant brush on an empty canvas. The pressures faced by the creative process carries no less than the same weight as an athlete.
There is a pressure, an internal struggle of the mind that everyone that is a creative has to overcome. Each of us are given a voice that sounds an alarm to protect ourselves from danger or discomfort. Every time an athlete takes to the mound, or an artist looks at that first stroke of the brush - so to does a writer stair down each and every word of that opening sentence. We have to tell that voice in our heads it has no place, it does not belong here. We have to yell, kick, and scream to silence that thunder in our heads that tells us we are no good and the words we have written are complete shit.
A writer has an obligation. No matter what the subject matter may be, a piece of fiction or a technical manual - we must meet the demands of an audience. An audience few of us ever are fortunate enough to meet in person. We have to create a scenario that is gripping and interesting for our reader. We must establish characters that are relatable to a desired audience while still being in service to the story. As such, a writer is a god. God's create worlds, places, things, creatures, people - all of them must serve a purpose to the greater story at hand. If they're not the main character, then they need to impact that character in such a way that advances the story. This is no easy task. Being God, if even for only a hundred, two hundred, or even a thousand pages is a weight that is hard to lift on one's shoulders.
We pull inspiration from random sources we encounter, a piece of music, a favorite movie, a picture, a car driving down a street, or the chance eavesdropping on a stranger's conversation. We take these elements and attempt to wrap a story around them. Sometimes it's complete and utter crap. Sometimes it's the most thrilling and exciting thing anyone has ever conceived! But we wont know whether our moment of inspiration is a work of genius or a turd until we take pen to paper and get it out out of our heads. It's easy to spot a writer in this way. If you're ever walking the streets of your local town or city, and you see a man or woman standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk frantically jotting something down into a small notebook or a scrap of paper while looking at something that is seemingly unimportant or of no consequence to you, that person is a writer. And that thing their looking at is their entire world at that moment.
Why Do We Do It?
Many people that are not writers or a creative individual assume that someone that writes a novel, a screenplay or even maintains a blog is simply in it for the money. In part, this is true. Money is nice, and the relative few of us successful enough to crack the secrete code and become known and respected writers with a following audience will tell you that the money does help make the venture worth it. But that's not why we do it. We do it, because we must. Not as if it is an obligation that is designed to save the world or anything that heavy, no, we do it because we have to. It's in our blood, a part of our DNA. We have to write. We have to create something at all times. If we don't, if some outside source impedes our ability to function in this fashion, we steadily go insane.
This is why every day I assemble this blog. Sure I want to entertain some folks, and yeah there is a part of me that desires this thing to truly take off, garnering enough ad revenue that I don't have to go back to a regular day job - but even now, as I try to find work to pay the bills and expand my toy and movie collection, I write these words because I must. I have to write the thoughts and weird ideas down onto paper or in a text document. Whether it's a joke, or an idea for a story, or just a concept that sounds interesting I have to jot it down so I don't forget it. Whether it's for a blog post, a screenplay, or a novel, I have to get it down. I have to let it out before it consumes me.
I have been successful in many ventures. I could be quite rich right now if I had stuck with any one of them. I'm sure of that as I am sure the sun rises in the east, but I didn't love what I was doing. I am a writer. I love creating, I love finding the right words to use. I love giving characters a unique voice that makes them resonate in a story and to an audience. Ever since I was a small child I was a writer. My doodles were actually picture stories I had drawn. I didn't command the written word yet so I used pictures to tell the story. And when the story kept going, I would simply tape together another sheet of paper and continue drawing it out.
As I get one day closer to turning 31, I look back at the moments and events in my life that influenced my decisions, and how I got to where I am today. I may be unemployed at the moment, but I feel more successful now than I ever have before. I write thousands of words every day, whether for this blog or for my novel. I am constantly dreaming up new scenarios, stories, characters, or events that I want to use in my current novel or another project later down the line. This blog has been a huge part of that. Sharing my work with others, getting feedback and positive reinforcement is like an injection of coffee direct into my blood! It excites me knowing that as of this writing this blog has gotten over 4000 page views in hardly six weeks! At the rate I'm going it'll be no time at all before I'm averaging 500 to 1000 views a day and I'll look back at this post with fond whimsical memories. It's important to acknowledge where you're at and how far you've come towards achieving your goals. Every day, with every push of the "publish" button - I take one step closer towards achieving that dream. And you dear readers, are a big part of that. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading and encouraging me with the clicks of your mouse buttons to keep going.
And with that, remember Dear Readers if you wake up and can't find your underwear, take a look around and double check you're actually in your own home. You don't want to go out into the world wearing another man's uniform, so to speak.