Tuesday, September 29, 2009

write write write.

Look, I am not good at stories, ok? And half the time I try to write, (actually, every time I try to write,) I end up trying to Write, and that is always a disaster. It always comes out shit, and I'm sure this will be no exception. It's only when I just sit down and write something to get it down on paper that it ever works out to be halfway decent, which of course means that none of the ideas that I am sure are brilliant ever end up even slightly shiny by the time they hit the page or the computer screen. I think part of the problem is that even though I really just want to write, I also want to Write. I am a little bit afflicted with that increasingly common disease of wanting to be A Writer. I am Cinna, and my writings will be used to wrap fish in the marketplace. I'm just glad there's no Catullus that hates me enough to publish a poem saying so.

Maybe someday I'll learn patience somewhere--patience with work, that is--and I'll stick with something long enough to make it through the shitty first drafts* and write something that more than ten people feel is worth reading. We'll see.

*In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott points out that trying to do everything at once is a really good way to fail. She relates a story in which her younger brother panicked the night before a bird report was due, wondering how he would ever finish, and her father told him to "just take it bird by bird." She also says that it's okay if, when we sit down to write, we write shit. Everything golden began with a "shitty first draft."

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