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June 28, 2010

Archives: March 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 7:17 pm

Monday, 3.16.2009 – Unsent

It seems weird to me that I’ve never e-mailed you before, but I don’t think I have. How’s it going?

So, I had this idea. Lemme run it by you. I’ve made a commitment to start taking my writing and myself as a writer more seriously. This has, so far, involved a number of different tacks, including really obvious ‘duh’ ones like:

1) read more books
2) write every day, and
3) quit being an asshole to/about my audience on LiveJournal.

The biggest thing, however, has been simply trying to figure out WHAT this thing I supposedly want to take more seriously is. In other words, what does it mean to be a writer as opposed to someone who writes some stuff sometimes? What, if anything, differentiates an authentic creative act from hypergraphic journaling qua self-therapy? (The fact that I basically grew up writing in online forums and on DeadJournal doesn’t exactly help disentangle this.)

One of the best ways I’ve found to tackle this question is by reading about writers – their thoughts on writing; how they became writers; how they came to think of themselves as “real” writers; when, how and if other people came to think of them as real writers, and whether and how that matters; their process; what writing means to them, etc. etc. You know.

I recently learned that a girl I knew in Ireland is having her YA urban fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy, published by Simon & Schuster. This is a girl who, when I last saw her in person, was writing (albeit excellent) Harry Potter slash and worrying about boy problems and exams. Normally, something like this would throw me into paroxysms of embarrassingly existential self-doubt – but in this case, my only reaction was, “Sweet! She totally deserves it. I can’t wait to read it.”

Why? Because I already knew she was a writer. Not because she called herself one, or because other people said she was, or because publishers published her or reviewers reviewed her, but because I’d been reading her writing for years. And it was comforting and encouraging to know that this published author with a flashy website and a book tour was also a totally normal person with boy problems and school stress in whose house I’d drunk tea. Actually watching her writing develop in realtime over the years got it through to me better than any writer’s advice column or famous author biography could have that “Real Writer” is not an unattainable archetype.

Why the hell am I telling you all of this? Well, obviously because I like to talk about myself. But more importantly, because I like it when YOU talk about yourself. I don’t need Simon & Schuster to tell me that you are a Real Writer in the archetypal sense – I know because I’ve always read your writing and loved it. I have more trust, respect and admiration for you as a writer than almost anyone else I know. And I’d like to read more about your relationship to your writing and to yourself as a writer…

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