I’ve been on a writing jag recently. Moreso than I can ever remember. I’m writing everyday, writing all different types of stuff. I’m writing fiction, I’m writing blog entries, I’m journaling. I’m becoming nearly obessive about it. If I don’t get something down on paper (actual paper or virtual paper), I feel like I’ve lost a day.
This is kind of a new experience for me. I’ve never been driven to write the way I am now. I can’t really say for sure from whence it came, but I’m glad it’s here. I’m actually gettin’ shit done.
What follows is an explanation of the types of writing I’m currently doing and what each type means to me.
Okay, we’ll start with the obvious. Fiction writing. Story-telling. That’s what it’s all about, that’s what I first started off doing, and that’s where I feel the “end game” is for me. The idea of telling a story that I have in my head is a thrilling and daunting concept that I have struggled mightily to execute.
Because of both my cavalier attitude toward my own fiction writing and lack of force of will to keep writing when the writing gets tough, fiction tends to take me a VERY long time. My first book took six years to write and edit, start to finish. My second book, of which I finished just the first draft this year, took me three years. Three years for a first draft!
While I let that second book simmer before I tackle the editing, I’m in the throes of my third book. This time, because of the push to write, I’m three months into this first draft, and eying a completion of the draft around the holidays.
Blogging, at least this much of it, is kind of a new thing for me. I’ve done some blogging before, I’ve had two or three previous blogs that I had brief courtships with, and then abandoned.
The primary issue I’ve had with blogging is that I don’t feel I’ve had anything interesting to say. This is an online platform, and as anybody who manages online content will tell you, you have to keep the content fresh. This then has been my number one problem with blogging. How do I keep the blog fresh with nothing to say?
This time I’m saying whatever comes to mind. Well, within reason. In order to become a successful writer these days, it helps to have a successful online presence. At least, that’s my impression. To the end, I’ve chosen to write about whatever strikes me, just as long as I work on it every day.
Following this process, I’ve discovered that I have lots to say, even if I’m the only one interested in what that is.
This is the personal stuff. This is the stuff that I write for myself and only myself. This is the stuff I do longhand. This is the stuff that will never see the light of day.
There’s a specific type of satisfaction of opening up my journal and seeing the pages that have already been filled out. There’s that immediate sense of “I did that” that is gratifying. And I know, someday when I’m gone, my family will get to read through these journals and gain a deeper understanding of who I was.
Journaling is not easy or natural for me. I tend to get frustrated with longhand writing. It goes “too slow” for this member of the keyboard generation. Which is another good reason I do it. It teaches me patience.
That’s it. There are other types, things I do for work. I write SOPs (standard operating procedures), instructions, user guides, programming code–the list goes on. But even though I’m writing for each of these, and it’s by no means a cakewalk to do so, I don’t consider it my writing. Maybe that’s beause I don’t own any of it at the end of the day. Maybe it’s because I have to instead of want to. Maybe it’s because some of it is truly soul-sucking. I mean, c’mon. No matter how much you like your job, and I do, a full day writing SOPs will make you want to scream by the end of it.
But for the writing I enjoy, these are the three biggies for me.