Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The write stuff

While living in Madison, before kids, before we were even married, I went for a walk through the far West side neighborhood we lived in and listened to a old tape of songs off the radio from 1984. It was a tape I hadn't listened to in years. It was at a time when I was getting serious about writing -- in a time before blogs, web publishing, NaNoWriMo, and so on. One of my possible projects was an idea I had in college to do sort of a written "Wonder Years" focusing on childhood summers (my favorite time of year). And I found unlikely inspiration from this cassette -- inspiration I've tried to recapture over the years. In the subsequent months, I wrote four "stories" for this project. I got some input from a friend, tweaked them, and never quite went back.

Well, that mildly inspiring cassette/walk was from a cassette I had recorded about 12 years previous. And that was ... about 14 years ago. I look at the little victories -- semi-consistent blogging, the NaNoWriMo novel I cranked out last November, a few completed short stories and some ideas that I enthusiastically started then let fall away. The "Five Summers" project that I started is one that I let fall away, and one that I have been thinking of lately. Maybe it's just the middle of summer has me thinking about it, and that chain of thought combined with the fact I did finish the NaNoWriMo novel (and thus know that when focused, I can accomplish these things) is drawing me back. And maybe, just maybe, because I'm older and have kids of my own, I have gained a better perspective on what "Five Summers" should truly entail.

And here's why I should be less daunting: The writing world is a much different place. In 1996, I wanted to write that book, be published and be at least a minor success, but there was an "Oh my God, how do I start the process?" element to it that always loomed. In 2010, I don't necessarily need to write something that will have a cover and be sold in independent bookstores. I can write it all and .pdf it or attach it to e-mails and send to the friends and family who want to read it. I can self-publish digitally on a number of websites that allow the posting of your own writings. I can blog one story (the chapters for this project are self-contained stories) at a time, then collect them all for myself or for whatever I want to do with them. I'm not dismissing trying to be published someday or marketing my creativity -- of course, I would love to see my name on a cover in that bookstore, and as a freelancer, that should be a goal. But, all these years later, it's not the most important thing, not as important as the writing itself. I wonder if that subtle, unconscious pressure held me back a little. Yes, time to write has always been and will continue to be an issue, but hopefully, that now should be the only issue.

So that's my goal here as the summer passes, and into the fall -- to write like mad. Continue with "Five Summers." Continue this blog and my NFL blog. I've been itching to start another blog with an idea I had that I would hope I can make a little money off of through ads. Write other stories as they hit my brain (my Kmart post from a couple years ago is an example of what I wish I was doing more of here). And to not pressure myself into thinking it can't be done, because there will always be a path that will work for me.

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