Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Resting on my Brass Laurels

They say the pen is mightier than the sword.

That may be, but when's the last time you saw Inigo Montoya have "Fencer's Block?"

Daedaleus at Silver Pen Scribe sent me a link to a humorous blog post today entitled "Six Signs It's High Time to Give Up Writing". Hilariously written as it is, reading through it, I started to really get down on myself. I mean, seriously, I'm at least four of those six things, why do I even bother with this writing nonsense? I spend more time complaining about Writer's Block than I do attempting to write, and this "author's" blog I'm posting in has maybe two works in it, and one of those is an ill-conceived nerd-rap. What am I doing?

It's easy to get discouraged, especially in this game. Quick! Name five authors you adore, whose works you will always buy, but who have never had a best-seller or a film/television adaptation of their work...ready...GO! See? Most of you can't. The writers' biz is like a more exaggerated version of life: the ones that do well do very well, and the rest we never hear from. In a further similarity, having talent is less likely to assure you success than any other factor; most of the famous authors have simply found a niche and churned out whatever that audience will buy in a rabid frenzy of fandom. Makes it hard for those of us that do it because we love it to get anywhere.

Let's step back a few paces. I come from a very creative family. My mother's side is very artistic, musically, and she herself is quite a whiz with a camera or a scrapbook layout. My father's family can build or craft anything you'd like, and he (like myself) has been known to be both a writer and an inventor at times. My brothers, though you may never see it until you talk to them, are some of the greatest storytellers I know, even if they occasionally have problems putting it into words. I was taught to read at a very early age, and I started writing because I love to read. I wanted to give something back. From this perspective, it seems what Daedaleus says about me is true, maybe I really am "inkblooded."

The extension of this is that I also have very creative friends. Like Daedaleus, most of them are writers. My second-favorite sparring partner is working on his own novel as he's helping me power through mine. A few of them are fellow poets, or scribblers of short stories. A few of them are bloggers. Many of them are also either musicians, or actors, or sculptors, or painters, or some unholy combination thereof. I am attracted to these kinds of people, because they always spur me to greater and greater forms of expression myself. I've always said that man is no closer to God than when he engages in the Master's favorite pastime, and creation is what abounds when I'm near this lot I've chosen.

Some of them frustrate me at times. One, in particular (who is probably reading this over his second pot of coffee for the day, saying "That sneaky motherfu--" between sips), has published at least 3 books of poetry (you should buy them) and a novel (you should buy it, too) since this time last year. He even conned me into a short film. He's constantly blogging about his work, tweeting about his work, screaming about his work, sharing his work over coffee (which I'm pretty sure replaced the blood in his circulatory system about twenty years ago), or otherwise pimping himself. It annoys the shit out of me.

Mind you, it's not that his work isn't good (it's amazing). And it's not that his work doesn't deserve to be pimped (it does). And it's not even that he shouldn't pimp his work (he should, because he's having to do all the marketing legwork himself). It's just that he's done all this, sold all these copies, been noticed by all these folks, gotten all these amazing reviews (a few of which I penned myself), and I can't even get out of the damn gate. I can't get a peer review, even in the draft stages, to save my life unless I beg people I've never physically met to read it through the vastness of the Great Aether. And I get SO. DAMN. SICK of feeling like a complete burden to all these people I get second opinions from. I mean, with as many creative people as I know, I should be able to find someone to read this crap I splatter across a page, right? I mean, without resorting to begging through blogs or forum-stalking, or something? Hell, even this blog was named for my tendency to do half the work, then sit back waiting for a pat on the head.

Part of it is that I've always had a problem with praise, and that's all I get from friends. Whether they genuinely like my work, or are kissing my beautiful, round, well-sculpted ass, I can never tell. I trust my friends to be honest, too, it's just that sometimes I think they're biased in subtle ways. So maybe this self-whoring to complete strangers is the best? Or maybe I should just give up on the thought that I could, should, would need external advice and just do what I got in this to do.

Tell fucking stories.

=Further Reading=