Blog post

Am I a writer?

To me, if you write, then you’re a writer. You don’t have to be published, or have ever shown your words to another person.

Okay, so I’m a writer. That answers my question.

However, I’ve been going through a bit of an identity crisis the last few months, and asking myself a lot of hard, stressful questions.

Recently, I’ve been wondering if I’m just using the wrong medium. Maybe I’m not built for prose. Maybe I’m one of those people who is passionate about something I’m not good at, and good at things I’m not passionate about.

I don’t have a problem thinking up stories, or characters, but when I sit to write I start to doubt myself. I think about all the “rules.” The impostor syndrome sets in. As I write, I already know what someone would tell me about the sentence I’ve just written: I should include more sensory details; that sentence is too long; stop using weak words; don’t use adverbs.

I’m not an expert, but I know myself. I know my style favors long, rambling sentences. Sometimes my description is too bare. I think my writing is too simple. I wish my words were more beautiful, more poetic.

I could overcome some of that. After all, one rule I whole-heartedly agree with is to write first, edit later. You can’t fix something that isn’t there. I know this, and yet the need for perfection still gets in my way.

I also wonder if maybe I’m just not made for writing. Maybe I’m good at coming up with ideas, but should just pass along those ideas to better writers. I actually enjoy reading other people’s work and giving them feedback, fixing grammatical errors, etc..

The biggest thing, though, is harder to get over. I have the most fun with writing when it’s collaborative. By this, I don’t mean that I’m working on my own thing and someone else is joining me and working on their own thing; I mean, we are working on the same story together. I have all these worlds and characters in my head, but working on them alone isn’t nearly as much for for me as having a writing partner. That energizes and motivates me so much more than writing by myself. Writing alone does not excite me the way collaboration does.

I love writing characters. I feel bogged down by description, and think that a lot of pretension exists in the writing world regarding what we should and shouldn’t do with our writing styles. I look forward to writing when I know I’m bouncing off of someone else.

Maybe I need to find my medium. Something like script writing, or writing for audio dramas.

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Blog post

People are the worst, and the best

Sometimes people really are the worst, and you realize that humans suck, and that they scare you. I think that on a frequent enough basis, on top of all the global shit going on.

I was on my way home from running some errands after work. Boring stuff, like updating our home internet plan (hell yeah, faster internet for $5 less a month), and running to the store for bread and peanut butter. My windows were down, because it was in the 60s and comfortable.

I was minding my own business.

A mere few feet ahead of me, I’d say three feet or so, sparks started jumping off of the road in front of me, accompanied with loud pops. Someone had tossed lit fire crackers into traffic, right in front of me, with my windows down.

My brain goes on auto-pilot during moments like this. I was very calm when I pressed the button to roll my windows up, while inwardly panicking that it would be too slow, that one would get tossed into my car as I drove by, but I was fine. I glanced in my rear-view mirror to see if the person behind me was reacting, but he didn’t appear to have noticed. Luckily the light two blocks down was red and I could get a moment to breathe even while my hands shook.

When I got into downtown, I rolled my windows down half-way, assuming I was safer there. I put Hamilton on, because it makes me happy, and I wanted to sing about Eliza swooning over Alex to boost my spirits.

Sometimes people are great.

Again, I was minding my own business. If you’ve been around me while music is playing, you know I sing along. But when I’m by myself? I have no shame. At another red light, someone pulled up beside me. I didn’t think I was singing loud enough for anyone to hear, even without my shame. The young woman was in the passenger seat of the other car. She looked out her window and said something to me. I paused my music and rolled my window down the rest of the way.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you!”

“You have a lovely singing voice!” she said.

I got a little flustered and shy, so I thanked her and asked if she’d heard of Hamilton. She said no, so I explained that it’s a hip-hop musical about the Revolutionary War, and that it would change her life.

“I’ll look it up! Thank you for changing my life!” she said.

The light turned green.

They turned left. I went straight, thinking about her kind words, and how these moments happened only minutes apart.

Thank you, sweet girl, wherever you are.