Two Birds, One Essay

So I tend to try to be efficient with my time, and my writing. An essay for my English 101 course has allowed me to do just that. She asked us to write an essay on a memory or place or something that makes us happy. I of course chose writing. And since this is a blog by a writer and sometimes about writing, I’m gonna allow it to serve as a blog post too.

This is my essay about my love for writing and why I write. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Ask them!!

Ask them what?

You know… the thing. 

Oh yeah. So as this is an actual essay for a class I will be getting graded on, I was kind of hoping that if any of you reading this notice any errors, you would let me know in the comments below. I mean a guy is trying to maintain a stupid high GPA here.

This.

This right here is me at my happiest. Sitting down with my headphones in my ears, jamming out to the not-so-random sounds of music, and penciling down thoughts. Willing the story in my veins to transpose itself into the digital ink and onto virtual tree carcass for the eyes of others is what I’ve grown to love.

Writing is my passion. It started as poems that I now realize are horrible, and then became screenwriting and sitting on the edge of my seat as this movie playing in my head, ran through my fingertips and into the keys of my laptop. Fueled by an unadulterated addiction to vanilla chai lattes and a love for deep connecting storylines, my current masterpiece (shut up, it’s my masterpiece) is a science fiction manuscript that has slowly grown to completely consume me. Try telling your buddies “Hey, I don’t want to go to the bar tonight. I want to write.” It takes guts. It takes a real dream. It takes self-discipline.

I never had the dream of being a writer as a kid. It was always the usual plan of a policeman, firefighter or astronaut. Then, somewhere along the way, I joined the Navy. Long deployments and hours upon hours of boring watch-standing make your mind wonder. I started bringing notebooks to watch that would quickly fill up with the chicken scratch of angry poems that would probably look better in an Eminem rap battle than in a magazine.   The poems weren’t good. Not in the least. It did, however, plant the seeds of writing somewhere deep in me that would take root and grow into the dream I have today.

There is a vague memory of the first story I ever wrote: a book—about ten pages folded and stapled at the crease—filled with a child’s drawings and a tale of how Native Americans had banned dogs from talking and sentenced them to an eternity of barks and howls. Even then, I never thought about being a writer when I grew up.

It wasn’t until I was twenty-three or twenty-four that I realized that constructing stories from an idea deep in my brain-meat and putting it into words for others to enjoy and fall in love with could be the release that it is.  I don’t remember how it started, but I remember downloading every movie script I could get my hands on and studying them. One day I sat down and started typing a scene in my head, and I was hooked. I would wake up every morning, put on my big boy clothes, pack up my laptop, and head to the bookstore café I wrote at. There, with an endless stream of coffee, ample opportunities for people watching, and a being surrounded by millions of pages written by people that had already made it, I would write. I would write until the last possible minute that I could and still make it to work on time. It became part of me.

The feeling of creating a story—characters that have to speak and scenes that have to take place—is unparalleled. I love getting that writer’s high: the experience of just letting the story flow, characters talk and just pantsing it without an outline. I’m always surprised at where the story ends up. I feel that a writer, at least one of fiction, hasn’t truly written until their characters say something completely unexpected and unplanned. Once they start, sometimes you have to shut them up.

My favorite part of writing is creating characters and then throwing every obstacle you can speak of their way. Put a guy alone in the zero-gravity of a space ship and turn out the lights. I bet you he finds a way to survive and says some crazy things while doing it. Throw a girl against the floor, say the large thug sitting comfortably between two ladies of the night had backhanded her, and watch as she gets her revenge. To me, that’s how simple it is. I just create a character, throw trouble their way, maybe add in other characters with different motives and before I know it I’ve written ten pages. Do this enough times, and you have a novel.

But there are many ways to flex your inner writer. In my free time (if there is such a thing anymore), I’m creating stories or writing blog posts. My blog, Write Your Wrongs, is still in its infancy, but watching it grow into something more than just soapbox rants and manuscript updates is exciting.

To be a good writer also means finding the time to be an avid reader too. How can a person that doesn’t often read know what makes for good writing? They can’t. Modern technology has only made it easier to find and read good books. I recently created an Audible account and I’ve finished more books—big books—with it than in the last two months than I have in the last four years. My growing love of writing makes me read and listen to books in a whole new way: studying the craft and emulating what works while taking note of what doesn’t. I strongly encourage aspiring writers to not only read books, but also read articles, poems, essays and blogs. If you read often and write what you want, before you know it your writing muscle will be that sleeve bursting bicep you’ve always wanted.

I still smile when I remember how it felt seeing that people all around the world were not only reading my blog but also liking it. I’m sure becoming a published author and seeing my books on shelves, or better yet in the hands of others, will only serve to dwarf that experience. I dream of having a library in my house with shelves upon shelves full of books, some written by me.

It is my strong belief that if you have a talent, you should never waste it; and if you can make money doing something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Now, while I’ve have yet to make a penny from a single word I’ve ever written, I do know that above all else, I am a writer. It may have taken me years to figure it out—and it’ll take me many more years to master—but I feel if there is a story buried inside of someone they not only owe it to themselves, but also to everyone else to let it out.


 


 

Well? Huh? What’d you think? Tickle your fancy?

They didn’t read it. And please never say “tickle your fancy” ever again.

I’ll try to remember that. Comment away people. I’ll be waiting.

I’ll be waiting too. 

We’re the same person.

Don’t remind me.