After reading through a Twitter thread of folks discussing old blogs and writing they revisited, and mostly cringed at, I decided I would do the same.
This was not ideal.
Fortunately (sort of), my old writing blog had been deemed inactive for too long and shut down. But there were some remnants of it. I was involved in an online writing group about 10 years ago. It was called The Friday Challenge and was run by Bruce Bethke (coined the term cyberpunk I believe) and a number of other science fiction writers. Pretty simple setup; each week there was a new prompt and a new winner of the last week’s challenge, all entries got feedback from the group, and the winner/s got a prize. A book! I won a couple and got a few books. Mostly based on self-editing (I think they were hinting at something).
Anyway, they would post the winners on their blog and that blog is still active.
On Sunday, December 26, 2010, a piece of writing by me was posted; Why We Write. I’m not going to link it. You can go searching if you must. It was difficult to read. To go back see my thoughts and ideas and world views from 10 years ago was eye-opening and made my face red a number of times. However, there were a few things that still resonate with me today.
I want to go through some of them, or at least list them.
1. I write because I can’t draw.
That’s the opening line. And boy is it spot on still today. I just don’t have that in me. I get it… It’s not just about natural talent. But I spent many years in art classes, outside of school, trying to hone the skills. But it never happened. Writing though. Writing sits well with me and I can see the improvement over time.
I write because I can’t draw.
2. Real-life experiences that I had whilst hanging out with a few unfavourable types sparked an interest in writing.
I have lived a fairly interesting life so far and I like writing about it. Slowly those experiences are coming into my writing. My constant obsession with writing about underworld figures and crime and drugs is pretty telling. I have two books banked away set in my hometown that will come to light one day.
3. Local writing groups suck.
I do not actually believe this one so much anymore. While the original post is quite damning, I still think some of it rings true. I attended quite a few writing groups at the time. I would walk about those meetings annoyed, angry even. I was writing pulpy trash about drugs, violence, and spaceships and was looked down upon. I would go home write more knowing that I liked it. Spiteful science fiction, nice. Anyway, I have never had very positive experiences with writing groups (except the Friday Challenge). I would like to though. I would very much like to find a small group of writers who I like and who like the same things as me to share and discuss writing with. That will come. One day.
Vampire the Masquerade gets a mention. The creativity that comes out of telling stories and rolling dice with friends is a precious treasure. Something personal. Something free. Something to hold on to. I think I will always turn to RPGs for inspiration.
5. In short, I write because I have stories I want to share.
And I like it. I think that has to be the most important thing. Doing a thing that you like because you like it and no other reason. While I make some money from this it’s not much. But I still love it. I want to tell the stories I have lived and those that I have imagined. If the line between them is blurred then so be it.
After reading this it dawned on me. I have been writing on and off for over 15 years. I have dedicated time every day or week to writing for over 15 years and I have learned quite a bit about the craft. I am going to share some of my thoughts, my experiences, and the wisdom of others in this little series.
I do not believe I am a master. The information that comes over the next few weeks will be what I have tried and failed with.
Long days and pleasant nights.