Monday, January 25, 2010

Consistent Blogging: Ur Doin' It Wrong.

I like to say that in a perfect world, I would quit my job and be a professional blogger. I don't know what the pay scale is (but I strongly suspect it's pro bono work). I don't know if anyone would actually read what I wrote. I do know that I love pop culture and in real life, I have a habit of talking incessantly about People Magazine and Twilight and VH1's "I Love the..." series and what new movies look awesome and what new movies look crap and who's dating who... but does the world really need another one of those blogs? I submit that it does not. Especially because I already read about three of them, and I would mostly just be copying what they said with less amusing verbiage. I could write about my job, but no one would read it, not even my mom, because frankly, while I enjoy my job, most people would find it incredibly tedious and boring. Who cares about comma splices and APA formatting as much as I do? A friend of mine said, "You could totally be a professional blogger. All you need to do is get a copy of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by Julia Child ..." but we all know that's already been done. The truth is, I want to be a writer, but I often feel like I have nothing of worth to say. I worry about incriminating people if I tell some of the funny stories about things that happen in my life. I worry about upsetting people who might read what I would write about them and be offended, even though I might mean well. So, like a deer in the headlights, I freeze up. And I end up going through phases of six weeks or four months or over a year where I don't write at all because I don't think I'm funny enough or I don't have the time or I don't know what people will think.

That ends now.

I'm not Julie Whats-her-face. I'm not going to master French cooking. Heck, I'm still struggling through learning the art of cooking things that can't be boiled in a bag or microwaved. A lot of nights, I'll admit it, we have toaster waffles and fried eggs for dinner because I don't have the foresight or culinary skills to fix much else on a whim. We eat tacos a lot. I might make meatloaf or salmon if I'm feeling particularly spunky. Tonight's menu consists of chipotle-rubbed chicken and roasted potatoes, and I feel like there ought to be some special occasion that calls for something so "fancy." Long story short, I won't bore you with tale after tale of me breaking down in tears over fallen souffle's and demolishing our already-strapped budget with foreign ingredients and setting our kitchen on fire twice a week. What I will bore you with are tales about how hard coming up with a denouement can be and what a challenge finding time to write is when you have a full time job, two kids, and laundry mountain.

Some people might not consider Maureen Johnson a wise woman because she loves to be silly, but the fact of the matter is, underneath all of her crazy exterior, she gives a lot of great advice, and these are some of the most important things I have learned from her:

1. If you want to be a writer, you need to read as much as you can.
2. If you really want to be a writer, you need to write, even when you don't feel like it, even when you "don't have the time," even when you think you have nothing to say.
3. When you first start to write, it will be crap. Only a real writer will keep wading through the crap until things get good.

Thus, I am starting a bit of "Julie and Julia"-style quest of my own. I have been wanting for some time to keep a book journal. You know, where you write down the title of the book you just finished and you write your general thoughts on it. I've really wanted to do it for ridiculous reasons (mainly, that I was a grade grubber in high school and college, and I want to see how many books I can and/or do read in one year just to be pleased with myself at how big the number is - and try to make it higher with every subsequent year). The other thing I have been wanting to do for some time is creative writing. I got a book for my birthday back in 2006, I think, called "The Write-Brain Workbook." The whole thing is filled with creative writing exercises, and the point of it is to create a habit of leisure writing (if they have leisure reading, why not leisure writing too?) by writing a short piece based on a prompt every single day for one year.

Here is my plan:

1. To read as much as I can and fill you all (haha - "you all," she said, as if anyone, even her mother, were reading this) in on what each book is like.
2. To finish one creative writing prompt every day for a year.

Why? Because I feel like I don't make any time for me to do the things I really want to do. Because I watch too much tv and would rather feed my brain than kill it with more mindless crap. Because (okay, maybe in at least one small way I am like Julie Whats-her-face - not remembering her last name is going to drive me nuts... *goes to Google* .... *comes back* ... Powell. Julie Powell. I feel better now) I rarely if ever finish anything, and I am tired of that feeling and of people asking my why I don't write anymore. So, here we go. Later today (because I really need to be doing work right now), I will post on the book I most recently finished, and I will add some sort of narrative. I know all none of you are waiting with bated breath.

1 comment:

neubon said...

I wrote that book that you got for your birthday a few years ago. It would be very cool and quite an accomplishment if you did a 10-minute creative writing exercise every day for a year. I loved the movie about Julie Child and Julie what's-her-name, too, by the way! As an extra incentive, would you like to email your 10-minute musings every day? I'd love to receive them.
Good luck!
-Bonnie Neubauer