"Here it comes, my masterpiece, my Sistine Chapel, my Old Man And The Sea.
Aaand it's gone."
-Me, sitting at my laptop writing, every day.
Writing is difficult. If I could encapsulate writing I would say that it's the equivalent of stepping up to the plate and either hitting a 600 foot home run or taking the most embarrassing swing only to find you didn't come anywhere near the ball.
Some days I sit down and it seems like words I didn't know I had just keep flowing out of my fingertips, and other days it feels like my brain can't properly communicate with my hands to tell them what the hell to write.
The other day I slapped myself in the face about five times in an effort to snap myself out of whatever spell I was in. True story.
Whenever I tell people I'm a writer they look at me as if I just explained the inner-workings of string theory to them.
I write stuff. I write words. I try to find the proper way to say things in a way that's fun for other people to read. That's it.
Want to know what my day is like? I sit at my desk, hit my stride for about an hour, then I go and eat something. Then I watch a video, then I eat some more stuff, and then I stare blankly at the white page waiting for inspiration to come for two hours. Then I watch another video.
I love binging on ASMR videos. I also love listening to movie soundtracks, because there's nothing better than feeling like Aragorn when writing copy for an investment company. It works though.
About a year ago I decided I wanted to become a writer. I graduated college and started to write a book that will never see the light of day. And something about sitting down to write just felt right. It felt like everything else in the world didn't matter, even though I didn't have a job and I was about to have a massive surgery.
There's something about suddenly discovering the proper way to explain that one thing that's always been swimming about in the back of your mind in real time. It's addicting. If somebody interrupted me while in my process I wouldn't be able to snap out of it.
You're watching Star Wars? Don't care.
You have President Obama on the phone? Nope.
You have gluten-free doughnuts? Okay, maybe.
But if you want to become a writer--whatever that means now that I think about it--there's a few things you need to know.
1. Throw Out All The Rules
Remember "I" before "E" except after "C?" Yeah, keep those rules because good grammar is a major key.
I'm talking about the unwritten rules that we need to sound professional and use big words to properly communicate our development strategy to segments of market vertic...... Sorry, I fell asleep writing that.
Get this: Write like you would talk! Just like I'm doing now. Write like that.
Find your voice. Whatever feels right to write, is right, right? Bingo. No I didn't just drink three cans of Coke.
But seriously the key to finding your voice is to throw out the rules. Remember what your third-grade teacher told you about writing? Forget it. Remember what your professor in college told you? Throw out half of it. It's time for you to write how you want to write. There are no rules here. How about you change the face of writing yourself? I used to think that you couldn't open up a sentence with a conjunction. But that was the old me.
2. Writer's Block Will Happen, Either Sock It In The Mouth Or Go Do Something You Shouldn't
I was watching Creed the other day with my best friend and we both were about as pumped up as little kids on Halloween. Writer's block is like a heavyweight champion who stares directly into your soul saying "I will break you."
Don't let it intimidate you.
Yeah, it might beat you down for ten rounds, but guess what? Round 11 is the one where you'll land that perfect uppercut to send it into oblivion. That's how writer's block is. It looks and feels like you're putting up the worst fight of your life, but then suddenly your brain clicks, your eyes get wide, the hair stands up on the back of your neck, and you're absolutely off to the races. Your body might be in the room with your friends but your brain is 1,000 miles away and counting.
But, on the off chance that writer's block hits you with an Apollo Creed in Rocky 4 (look it up), go goof off. Go hang out with friends. Go to the arcade. Seriously, the arcade is like the ultimate writer's block cure. Try it.
3. Writing Doesn't Work Around Your Schedule
The day after the Orlando nightclub shooting occurred I was on the second leg of my summer road trip heading to Austin, TX. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It got so bad that I pulled my car over to a nearby Panera Bread and started to write. Orlando was my home for two years, and I had actually just left there to drive to San Francisco a week before.
Many times when I think of something to write about I must write about it immediately, otherwise the motivation and clarity of that topic leaves me and hardly ever returns. If you want to be a writer, you need to understand that duty calls, very much like Clark Kent ripping off his dress shirt to go fight bald men with diabolical plans.
4. It's Extremely Satisfying
I can't think of anything more satisfying than sitting down and hitting the bullseye on something that's been plaguing my mind for weeks or months. Being an INFJ, I'm constantly in my head thinking about everything. My mind bounces from topic to topic like a pinball. Many times my friends stop me and ask, "How did you think of that?" Then I just shrug it off and act like I didn't just make a connection between five seemingly unrelated things in a matter of four seconds.
When our brains are like that, we need a place to dump our thoughts, otherwise we'll develop a really serious case of schizophrenia or something.
Let me tell you something. Most people walk around and notice things, but for some reason or another they might find it hard to express what's going on. When we as writers can express their pain, and ultimately our own, it's like we just unlocked a door at the end of the hallway that's never been opened before. Suddenly this rich clarity comes over us that hadn't been there before, and we're in a state of euphoria for a few hours afterward.
Writing, when you do hit your stride, is extremely satisfying. It's better than buying a new car, or, yes, eating that gluten-free doughnut.
5. It's A Window To Connecting With People
Sometimes, but not often, I write something that really resonates with people. In fact, I've only written maybe three or so articles that have really taken off on the internet. But when I do write something that touches somebody or makes their day even in the slightest bit brighter, it's an incredible feeling.
Think about it, most people who read my writing don't know me at all, but something about one or two pieces that I've written have made people reach out to me to express their gratitude.
That's the best gift in the world, honestly.
Yeah, you could buy me a house in Palm Beach, but if you tell me something I wrote resonated with you then that takes the cake. Call me crazy. I don't care. These are my words.