February 5, 2009

Halfelven needs to write more

Should be doing instead of blogging: Organizing those sewing patterns. Instead, I'm eating kumquats, blogging, and playing Legend of Zelda. Like with the mysterious green pudding stuff that the sushi mart people included with my dinner order last night, I don't know what I think of the kumquats yet.

There are two things that I know about myself: I'm damn good at what I want to be good at, and I'm determined.

Okay, that was one of those positive affirmations rather than bragging about myself.

I've heard that it's a good idea to stand in front of a mirror and repeat good things about yourself. It's supposed to drive the positive thoughts into your head so that you're less likely to sabotage your personal development with negative thoughts, but I'm not the type of person who stands in front of a mirror and says positive things. I've also been known to go through most of a day without even looking in a mirror, so releasing a statement onto the internet is probably more effective for me than that mirror gazing crap.

Back to why I need a visual affirmation right now. I feel like I'm losing focus on some of my projects. Back when I started this blog (before I dropped it and forgot about it for over a year), the primary issues in my life were staying organized, writing fiction, and advancing in my job. Now that my work life is going well, I would expect that my writing output would increase, and my surroundings would be spotless.

Screw that.

I think my English degree killed my ability to write fiction with abandon. When I was in high school, I worked on a writing project about a character in my ever-evolving constructed universe. By the time I abandoned that project for something else, I had at least 20 pages' worth of text written in single-spaced, 10pt Times New Roman. While I've always spent a great deal of my background thought processes on my conculture project, I've recently noticed that most of my notes stopped during my sophomore year of college. Now that I'm actively working on it again, I find myself starting to type, then saying things like, "Is this symbolic? How is this conflict a commentary on the society I live in? Is this a commentary on society? How often has this sort of story been done? My writing really sucks, anyway."

This criticism I have for my writing is bullshit.

  • If there's one thing I know that I'm great at, it's writing. Is my fiction Nebula quality? I don't know. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm a good writer in general.
  • The books that I like to read are not books that I read in my classes. The stories that I like to write are stories I wouldn't be studying in any of my literature classes. Shakespeare, Joyce, and Woolf are great authors in many respects, but my fascination with a local used bookstore's collection of old dime store science fiction novels demonstrates my free-time reading preferences.
  • Sitting in front of a blank screen and whining about my writing doesn't get publishable material produced. While I don't strive to be a prolifically published writer, I'd like to publish something beyond the material in my college's literary magazine. It's more of a personal gratification thing for me — being able to say that not only do I write, but I'm published, too.
  • Again, I'm determined. I can write something good if I damn well want to. I'm the type of person who sees something that she wants, focuses on it, and won't stop until she has it. It's more of a reaction that I get when I find something I truly want, instead of something I force myself to do when something looks interesting. Granted, I've found out that this approach doesn't work in all situations — sometimes you just don't have control over the circumstances that will lead to you having what you want. But writing well isn't one of those powerless situations.
Just wanted to throw that out there so that if anyone finds it, they can be subject to this rant by choice. I throw enough random rants at the poor victims people I see regularly. Now off to work on my current writing project, before tonight's caffeine high wears off.

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