It's been weeks since I posted here but I think about this blog almost daily. For a long time I was planning a post about suicide then I thought I'd post a review of a book on depression that I read. But every time I thought about blogging here I felt a little depressed. So my little project has become exactly the opposite of what it was originally intended to be; it became yet another source of depression for me.
So I'm changing direction. This new course will naturally touch on depression occasionally because it's incredibly narcissistic and depression is a big part of who I am. I'm going to write for one hour everyday. I'm going to write about whatever is on my mind and, in the cases where the well has begun to run dry a little, whatever I can wring out of my mind. I will write directly into the blogger window instead of writing and editing in Word. I will also not edit although I'll pay attention to blogger's. I will write for one hour then hit post and go on. Those are the rules. Simple, straight forward and hopefully I can stick to them.
I was inspired to a degree by NaNoWriMo. It's an interesting idea. I've never taken part; I'm not much of a joiner. But I admire anyone that does. That's some dedication.
Something that I don't think that I've shared heretofore as I've carefully cultivated my anonymity. I'm a writer. I'm not a great writer although I've had my successes. Life bustled me back and forth between corporations for a some years after college until I'd had enough of soulless middle managers lording over me under life-draining fluorescent lights. I quit my job two years ago and decided to give the writing thing a serious shot. I'd written a novel in my spare time over the previous years and wanted to either get it published or start work on a new one.
I wound up with a great gig that allows me to write at home and whenever I want. Between it and some freelance work I manage to pay the bills. But recently I realized that I'd completely lost sight of my original goals. All of the writing that I do now is very utilitarian. There is no art in it whatsoever. And no soul.
So I'm hoping that this daily exercise will reawaken the writer that I once was or at least what I wanted to be.
Let me say it this way. As you can see above I like to set rules for myself. One rule that I set at the beginning of this new career was that I would not write for free. I was keeping a personal blog at the time and I completely stopped posting to it. My three readers were horribly disappointed but I had made the decision that someone somewhere would eventually pay me for every word that I wrote. You see I was a professional writer now. My focus on squeezing dollars from every word and paragraph left me without an option to exercise the writing muscle. And it's beginning to weaken.
The sentiment was right and it's advice that I'd offer anyone trying to cultivate a writing career - never write for free. But this rule should be clarified - never accept writing assignments that don't pay. I doubt that most people would take it to the extreme that I did but since that possibility that there are other freaks out there like me I now add it.
I've been very lucky. The writing gig that I landed simply isn't offered to amateur writers. I've come to understand this more over the last couple of years than I did at the time. I was very happy when I got the job but now after watching better writers than I get turned down by the same organization I realize how the fates were smiling upon me when I applied. I was in the right place at the right time.
It's also a great position from which I can launch an even fuller career. I haven't done so yet partially because of this self-imposed and completely absurd handicap - never write without getting paid for it - but I'm hoping that someday I'll get over that.
I'm still going to remain anonymous. This might seem silly but I want to feel completely free to write whatever I want here. Everything that I write as me is written for on particular reader - my wife. Before I get into that let me say that my wife is a wonderful person. Every stereotype of the "Take my wife...please" image is exploded by her. She doesn't nag. She is totally supportive of me. For the particular construct of my personality there couldn't be a better compliment.
However expecting that everything I write will be read by her is occasionally oppressive to the message of the piece in front of me. It's completely an internal thing. She has never come to me and said, "What the hell is this supposed to mean!?!" then accusing me of attacking me. One reason for this is that she rarely reads what I write. She's not particularly interested in the subject that consumes my professional career and the creative writing that I did before now didn't hold much interest for her, either. I've never really understood that but that's something to explore later. Here I'm just pointing out the irony that I constantly self-edit for her and she rarely reads my stuff.
Anyway by writing anonymously here I know that she won't read it and I don't have that weight in my keyboard. But in writing in a public way I still have some responsibility to write in a comprehensible way. And I think that's what I want.
I've been writing now for 40 minutes. This is going to be hard. I should start jotting down those little thoughts that occur to me throughout the day so I have somewhere to start. I should also probably start new posts for each thought. Endless, run-on blog posts like this one will definitely turn people off. Not that the reader is the goal here. Normally she is but in this case it's all about the writer - told you it was going to be narcissistic - but in case there is someone out there interested in my nonsense I could at least create new posts to compartmentalize the whole mess for her.
Getting back to the NaNoWriMo - I'd love to give that a shot someday. It's all about getting my money in order ahead of time. We don't have a lot of money so I'm constantly chasing bills and therefore thinking about them. I'm an easily distracted writer so I know that money and bills are the mostly likely reason that I'd fail. NaNoWriMo would take some serious discipline and concentration. But the time constraints would also be so very freeing in a way. I often spend/waste a lot, and I mean a lot, of time on the editing process. Not that it's not important. If you've read this far first you deserve a medal or a cookie or something and second you can see want a mess my raw material is. There are probably tense shifts, all kinds of dangling things and, the bane of my writing, comma errors all over the place.
Commas - oh my god! I am terrible with them. I don't know why but I just can't get the rules straight in my head about commas. I have developed some defenses, though. When I'm editing and I come across a comma question I find that I can often flip the sentence or turn it into the two sentences and the problem evaporates. This is a great solution because I tend to write long sentences but short sentences 1) are easier to read and 2) are easier to sell. Go ahead, check it out. Books on the bestsellers rack have short punchy sentences. The books that aren't have longer sentences with lots of unnecessary floral arrangements.
Only five more minutes to go. I've learned a little with this first post. One, as I said above, I should break these monsters up into a bunch of smaller, subject oriented posts - see my sentence thoughts in the previous paragraph. Two, I should make sure that I've used the bathroom before launching into this. (Did I mention that one of my rules is that I won't get up for any reason before the hour's up?) Three, I need to make sure that my wife is occupied before I start. About ten minutes into it she came down and started talking to me. Nothing derails my train like that!