So I’ve come up with a little idea.
Far and away the worst problem I have as a writer is the motivation to sit down and write. Every single day I come up with ideas for blog posts, ideas for my stories, ideas for my novel, ideas for music, but I never sit down and do it. So in order to help keep me focused on writing, and also to help my writing ability improve, I’ve devised a system that I think might help me.
One of the things that has really inspired me most as a writer is hearing about comedian Mike Birbiglia, who wanted to devote his life to his comedy and to writing, so he started doing it as a full-time job. He rented an office space, set up an office, got up in the morning and went to work, and sat at his desk and worked. And that’s what it is to be a writer. And that’s what I want to do.
However, I’m also not oblivious to the fact that my writing muscles have not been getting stretched a lot, and because of that, my writing itself has suffered. Not so much the fiction, I think that I tend to write fiction in short bursts when I’m feeling inspired, but on days like this, I want to create a blog post and I have ideas, but when I sit down to do it… I just feel yucky. I feel like my voice isn’t on, like my writing ability isn’t with me, and I can tell from the quality of my writing that the style is conversational in a way that makes me feel I could do better.
But a long time ago, I heard an interview with Gregory Maguire where he said that the number one thing to do if you want to be a writer is to write. Write every day. Write something. It doesn’t have to be a novel, but write something. Work those muscles.
So my plan is to combine these two approaches: that of Gregory Maguire and Mike Birbiglia, and hire myself as a full-time writer. My job will be to write something every day, Monday through Friday, with weekends off, unless I feel especially inclined to write on the weekends.
This is necessary for several reasons. Firstly, because I have a Patreon, and because people are literally paying me to write. Not much, of course, because I only have a few patrons, but still, they’re giving me their money and expecting writing in return, and even if it isn’t all top-shelf, I can’t actually CREATE great short stories, poetry, and novels if I’m not constantly writing.
So that’s the plan. As of now, I’m a full-time writer. Well, full-time in the sense that I have to write something at least once a day Monday through Friday, but of course I don’t actually make enough money (YET) to do it as a real job. Still, this will be good for me, for my writing, for my creativity, and hopefully for the people who enjoy reading what I have to say.
At this moment I have a list of things I want to talk about. I have four lists, for what I’ve been reading, listening to, watching, and playing. To tackle all of these in one post would be messy and would probably require more time than I’d be able to put in, but this is a good starting place.
I’ve tried several times to “number” my blog posts. I’ve come to accept that just isn’t going to work. The first reason is that it’s difficult to tell WHAT constitutes a blog post. I have several posts talking about music and books I’m reading and rants about social issues, but also entire posts just dedicated to telling a story about having a meaningful or intense sexual experience. Does one count as a blog post and the other as a journal entry? Where is the line? I’m not really sure. At most recent count, the number of “blog posts” (meaning: not poetry or fiction) numbers somewhere in the 200’s, and as I’m writing this, this post is literally number 303. I couldn’t really make a big deal out of my 300th post because I honestly didn’t know which post WAS the 300th. And right now there are a few posts I’m considering deleting, as they’re just pieces of yet another rewrite of my novel.
I tend to get into this “ranting about blog numbering” and “complaining that I’m not writing enough” thing a lot, but the reason for that is that I take such a long break between actually posting. I’m hoping that by giving this little explanation and by preparing myself for daily work, it will help my writing to be more interesting, and help me to get better as a writer, and ultimately this will help me get better and knowing when to follow my inspiration and sit down and write, as well as develop the discipline to do so. And it also means that what I create will be better-written, because I’ll be used to flexing those muscles.
So, that’s the plan. And though today’s post is short, I’ll stop there for now, and I’ll be back tomorrow.
Thanks Gregory Maguire, and Mike Birbiglia. One day I’ll be a real writer like you guys.