Ill be the first to admit it. Like every other voracious reader out there I’ve always just assumed that I could write a book if I ever put my mind to it. After all I know what I like, I can recognize most of my favorite authors based on writing style alone, I have a very large vocabulary (even if my spelling and punctuation are atrocious) and decades of keeping my nose buried in any book I could find have given me a pretty good idea of things like plot, pacing, characterization, and so forth.
At least, that’s what I’ve always assumed. And then, thanks to a number of posts by Larry Correia, and Sarah Hoyt I decided it was finally time o get off my ass and put everything Ive learned to use. I mean how hard could it be?
Damned hard as it turns out. And I don’t even mean that writing something worth reading is hard. Just writing for more than 10 minutes at a time is hard. I know I have some good stories in me. I know what my characters look like, talk like, act like, and like. I know what the plot is, whats going to happen next, and how its going to happen But actually translating that from my head onto a page? That’s hard.
But even that’s not what I mean when I say writing is hard. Just sitting down, starting to type on to a blank page, or rereading my last paragraph and starting from there is really really hard. Its not just that there are so many distractions, or even that the mechanics of writing is difficult. And its not about finding the motivation, because I really do want to write. But actually doing so is really really hard. Hell the only reason I’m even writing this blogpost is as an excuse not to work on my novel.
Now I have to confess, I am one of those arrogant sons of bitches who thinks of himself as a natural storyteller. I always assumed that when I finally decided to sit down and write that the words would just flow out of me onto the page like a particularly satisfying bowel movement. But it just aint so. In fact, right now its more like trying desperately to take a dump in a dirty truck stop bathroom after spending the last six weeks eating nothing but cheddar cheese while deathly afraid that a gang of sado-masochistic grizzly bears are going to bust in and rape me to death if if the turtle even begins to poke his head out.
To be honest, i wasn’t expecting it. I mean i’m not the kind of guy for whom confidence has ever really been a problem. I’ve spent the last two decades in various forms of sales, from selling meat door to door, to slinging stock during the dot-com boom to B2B sales targeting some major companies and everything in between. I literally can’t remember the last time my ability to pay the bills wasn’t wholly dependent on much my commissions were that month. And its not like I’m afraid of trying new things. I left the US back in 2002 and I’ve lived in at least a dozen countries since then in places ranging from Central America, to Eastern Europe, To S.E. Asia.
And yet, whenever I sit down to write, to try and put all these characters and ideas that have been rattling around in my head for only the gods know how long….. I find myself procrastinating, coming up with excuses or just drawing a blank. What’s worse is that, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m actually nervous. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t help thinking “what if I’m not any good”. And that frankly terrifies me. Its not even the idea that I might not be the genius I’ve always assumed that I was that terrifies me. No its even more perverse than that. I’m terrified because I’m terrified. I’m just not used to questioning myself. For as long as I can remember I’ve always had the unshakable belief that I can do anything. Its never mattered to me whether I knew what I was doing, or whether or not I had ever done it before. Even in situations where failure could embarrassing, or dangerous, or even deadly. I’ve ALWAYS known I could do whatever task was set in front of.
Only now I’m not so sure. I have doubt. And that, more than anything else scares me. Which is just one of the ways I KNOW that I have to do it. So I sit down in front of my computer each day and I force myself to write. And yeah, some days, maybe even most, I let my fear get the better of me. I sit down to write and end up reading instead. Or I put it off until its too late and I have to go to sleep in order to make it into work in the morning. Or like today, I sit down to write a story and end up writing a blogpost instead. And even though I know, even as I type these words, that its nothing more than a way to pretend I’m writing without actually writing, its also somehow easier than actually opening up that word file and writing for real.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is, Stop being such a fucking pussy Mars. Grab your balls, man the fuck up and open that word file. Cause aint nobody else gonna do it for you.