I’ve decided I’m not going to start this post with an “It’s been a while, but I promise I’ll write more.” Not only does it assume you were on the edge of your seats, which you weren’t, it also makes a promise that I can promise I will break.
I know I will break this promise because of my writing process, which is as follows:
First, I get a brilliant idea in the car on the way home. The idea fixes all of my problems with my current story or article, is witty and approachable, and will cement me as the best me in the universe. I do not record the idea in any way (despite owning a voice recorder) , but decide to have a nice long writing session that night to celebrate my brilliance/abate my self-hatred.
When I get home, I have dinner. I suppose this is acceptable, in itself. But there’s a show on tv that’s a little interesting, and I want to finish it. Then, there’s the new movie from Netflix (It was “Cyrus” today, which was very good). Then, of course, my “scheduled” writing period isn’t until 9:30, and there’s a new flash, freeware, or Gamefly game I haven’t tried yet. Then it’s 9:45, and I finally sit down to write.
First I have to pick a soundtrack. I often start with shuffle first, but it is too distracting to have music changing with no warning. Then, inevitably, I turn to something that is steady yet equally distracting. I do not learn, saying, “I haven’t heard the latest Roots album, maybe it is the perfect writing music.” It is not. Often I will then go to Allmusic or Metacritic to make sure I am listening to their ‘best’ album (who has the time to listen to every album a good band makes?). Then I look at bands like them, then I realize that the problem might be that hip-hop, though high-tempo, is a little too lyric-driven to accompany writing, and that accidentally typing “SMACK MY BITCH UP” where I should be typing “He now realizes he will never be a child again, that he will never again successfully imagine, that he will never again smile and mean it.”
I settle on something indie and chill (currently “Broken Bells”) and I turn back to my typing. But not before looking at my clock, that now shows something like 10:15, meaning I’ve almost been ‘writing’ an hour (rounding up). I correct some of my grammar, finish the current paragraph or scene, think idly about what to do with the next scene while checking my email for the umpteenth time in case someone has decided to give me money for doing nothing. Then I check Facebook and Twitter and Ebert inevitably tweets something interesting which I have to check out and then I read about a movie which I feel like totally could have written, directed, or edited better if I only ever did anything.
Then I get sad because no one realizes my unwritten genius. I work out that stress by playing a flash game, and soon my wife comes to say, ‘Hi,’ and, “I thought you were writing.”
And I say, “Oh, I’m finished.” And I flip to the project and I look at the two lines I wrote and I save and I close.
I do this like every day. Also, what counts as writing expands constantly. First it had to be at least a page in my current primary project. Then a cover letter counted. Then blogging. Then writing work. Then a good email. Then a particularly poignant tweet. And so on.
It’s okay though, because my life is really hard you guys. I have a film internship that has been known to involve reading all day. I am looking for jobs and doing occasional free-lance work, and dreaming and fantasizing about when I get to write for a living. Then I will be happy, and I will be able to focus, and I will no longer like doing things that are not writing.
I’m sorry this kind of turned into a confessional. I know you are not my internet priest.
I’m trying not to care about that, though.
Most people appear to use the internet as a place to throw themselves against glass, like confused birds, throwing out every thought they have, every thing they value, want or need. I’m uncomfortable doing that. I understand that I’m not that important, and I want to be better than those people.
But I’m starting to realize I’m not better, and I want to live in the world they live in where everything about them matters. It sounds nice, and since I’m all about choosing your own world, I’m going to try to avoid self-censorship and just write write write.
I hope I offend you and you forgive me and we both learn that everything is okay.