I Don’t Want To Be a Writer Anymore: Part I

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I don’t want to be a writer anymore. I just want to write.

It was far easier to write when no one knew I wrote, when I didn’t consider myself a writer at all. Having boxed myself in, constricted by a label (“writer”) I now find writing suffocating and counterproductive.

To return to the carefree days of pecking away at the keys or scribbling in a notepad would be a welcome relief. I miss that. I hate the monster I’ve created, which has put needless pressure and stress on me.

I yearn for writing to be what it once was: an outlet and nothing more; least of all for it to exist in the state it currently does, a nightmare, a job almost, the pressure to be a legitimate writer with a book, not just printed articles in magazines but an author.

General George S. Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Key word: good.

Not great.

Not perfect.

Good.

Key word: now.

Not tomorrow.

Not next week.

Now.

And I have a plan: to journal, beginning today.

Whether my writing sounds literary or not is of no consequence. It won’t pour out perfectly scripted with silver dollar adjectives or verbs. It very well may turn out the opposite; the plain truth, really, is that because it’s journaling it will be about as antipodean to literary snobbery as possible—and therein lies the beauty.

The best writing I have ever done first resembled a flaming pile of un-literary shit. That is the absolute truth. Back when I was 20 or maybe 21, I can’t quite remember now—though I’m leaning more toward 20—I began a story that came to be known as The Court, aptly named for the basketball court across the street from where I grew up.

Spurned by the diagnosis of terminal brain cancer in one of my best friends, the story, essentially, is a vignette of childhood memories interwoven with current events broken into roughly two parts: Jeremiah’s original diagnosis and the last diagnosis when his health took a rapid turn for the worst, eventually ending in his death at the tender age of 27. Over the course of a few years, from July 2003 until January 2007, the story grew to well over 100 pages.

Be that as it may, the first draft of the story—or first few paragraphs, which was all the story was originally, remaining that way for a solid year—was horribly written. If I could still find a copy of the original, I would share. However, the original start of The Court is no longer, having gone the way of the dodo when Geocities shut down; the lovely Geocities where my first ever website was built in the mid-to-late 1990s. Back in the days when Excite chatrooms were the place to be on the weekend.

In any manner, the story, as it grew and took shape from one draft to the next, one chapter atop the other, turned out to be not that badly written. Was it Nabokov? Not hardly. But it was a story…

Read Part II of I Don’t Want To Be a Writer Anymore.

3 Comments

  1. Ha ha, this made me smile, and feel good! Thank you. And now is one of the times where I see how it would not be the same if YOU didn’t write this, that maybe I wouldn’t get to enjoy this if you wrote in a different way, under more of a ‘niche’.

    I say this because I’m currently struggling with making my personal website more of a ‘niche’ website (or whether to just keep it like it is, where my name is the headline), both because I like to write but also because I want to earn some form of honest passive income from it.
    I feel dirty when I have written about my troubles and given it onto my blog for everyone to see, to share that draining energy, at least it feels draining to me afterwards. Why am I giving that energy to my audience?

    I continuously wonder if that draining feeling from writing my blog under just my name means it’s not what I’m supposed to do, but I can’t let it go! I’ve tried, but I always feel drawn back to it, even when feeling excited about writing a niche blog (for about two seconds).

    Then again, I’ve had some people and close friends come to me and tell me how much they appreciate my writing, but then also it seems people don’t always quite know how to relate to me in physical life, at least earlier, and I hate that feeling of distance, of unspokeness because of something I wrote.

    I’m rambling here, Jeff, (but smiling), but can I ask you opinion on this?

    I want to earn an honest income through my blog, but is there a future for that writing under my own name or do I have to get a niche blog?

    Anyhow, thank you for YOUR writing.

    Best regards, Joerund

  2. I’ve been stuck on that I want to give my audience a GOOD, elevating energy, not the draining type, people have enough of that as it is.

    But then again what may be draining for some, might be helping someone in a lower mood up?

    • I think the key is writing what your brain is telling you to write. I second guess myself all the time, as in almost everything I post here and everything I don’t. I’m trying to get better about that myself. It’s only when I just write to write that I sense the connection being made to the reader. It feels good when that happens.

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