Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Writing Week part 11

As far as weeks go, this one has been relatively uneventful - writing wise - and relatively eventful - non-writing wise. For one, this was probably the longest week I have worked since I've been employed by the company I am at now. Over the course of six days, I wound up working nearly 60 hours. I know there are a lot of people out there who do that on a regular basis, so I'm not asking for any sympathy on that front. But, I am unused to that, and found that my more hectic than usual work schedule, in addition to other things I had going on, made writing difficult this week. Top that off with a case of food poisoning on my only day off, and I didn't get much down on the page this week.

However, that's not to say that nothing was accomplished. For one, I thought long and hard about the graphic novel I want to start writing, and got some good, tangible ideas down on the page. Now, I know in the past we've been somewhat hard (if not in this blog, then I assure you, we have been in person) on people who merely talk about writing and talk about their ideas and never put anything to paper. But, sometimes, it will hold that in order for an idea to breath, it must first be developed off of the page. My idea was really boundless at first; it had no direction, no walls, no real notion of where it was going. But this week, I was able to tell myself: this is what it is about; these are the (kinds of) characters that will be in it; these are the scenarios that will be explored; this is my idea. Though no black ink was laid to rest upon white paper, I am light years ahead of where I had been in terms of this idea when the week began.

Likewise, I did start writing something else, a short story, believe it or not. I've attempted short stories in the past, mainly because, as I'm sure you can tell from some of my entries here, I like using words. Short stories allow me the freedom to use more words than perhaps my ideas entitle me to.

I had begun to feel that drought, that antsyness that comes with not writing; only this time, my head was filled with ideas, with wants and desires. I had a lot to put to page; I just wasn't doing it. The short story was the temporary fix; I could write a bit here or a bit there, claim to have written that night (since in fact, I had), and still have stayed away from my script. Mind you: I'm not afraid of the pages I have to re-write. On the contrary, I'm eager to get to them. Sometimes, thought, I feel the need - whether consciously or not - to step back from them for a time. This is one of those times. By this time next week, I hope to be back in the swing of them. But for now, I'll allow my other ideas the time they need to ferment, to bubble, to pop.

Is every writing week a writing week? Perhaps not. Some might disagree with me and claim that one must, and under no circumstances stray from this, write every day. I feel it is important. But, I also think it can be beneficial to let ideas materialize first. I am at a point where I want to continue with the project I finished in the past ten weeks, but at the same time, I want to build upon a second project that I can work on at the same time. I know that in a previous entry I wrote about hoe important it was for me to keep writing. Perhaps I've failed that. Then again, perhaps I've seen that not all writing has to be of a pen to the page, or fingers to a keyboard. Writing is a muscle, and there are many ways to strengthen it.

Stark Realizations

I won't rob long time readers of a proper reflection, but for the here and now, be it known that the grad school application process is just about wrapped up. To date, I applied to six schools for a MFA in creative writing, received four official rejections, one unofficial rejection, and am waiting on my last, long shot, school.

This happens to people, and I'm not unrealistic about my writing ability, especially in prose, but I don't think I can go through this process again. Next December I'll turn 26. I have no marketable skills, no career prospects, and a writing ability that is strong but unfocused from the years I've spent dabbling in so many different mediums (cyberspace, I guess, included).

At one point in my life, if there was something I wanted to do, no matter how unlikely it was, it happened. It could have been any number of things, but through a combination of determination, talent, work, and what was probably quite a bit of luck, things just worked out for me. I think it's easy to fly high while in the confines of college and walls and rules and it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

There are a lot of talented people out there, and I honestly do think that I'm among them, but I don't think I want "it" enough. I don't want crappy jobs while I write mediocre things and chip away at a block of talent until it becomes a polished, godly tool of literary destruction because I don't have faith or confidence in the fact that after all the work has been done there will be something there worth toting. I am only twenty-five now, but what happens if in ten years I'm still struggling to make ends meet and I realize that maybe this writing thing isn't taking me anywhere? Then I'm thirty-five. There's a chance I'll pull through and be the working, influential writer that I aspire to be, but the numbers indicate - just like the grad schools that receive 835 applications for 25 slots - that it just won't happen.

At 16, while in the midst of a pretty serious depression, I made the choice to drop everything and study my ass off so I could get into schools outside Kentucky, my home state. I didn't know just then what I wanted to be (I would gravitate toward acting a year later), but I knew where I didn't want to be, and I knew my brain was the ticket out of it.

For as much as I love writing, I don't know if it's what I want to do with my life, but I sure as hell know that in ten years, I don't want to have screwed myself out of more opportunities by following a pipe dream. It frightens me, and whether or not you believe fear is something that should dictate action, well, sometimes, I think that it's perfectly okay.

I don't want to say I'm hanging it up because I'm not. Writers write, and no matter what you do for a living, no matter how old you get, no one can ever take that away from you. But there are a lot of other things that I'm interested in, roads down which I need to travel. If a letter shows up on my doorstep from the University of Virginia and says I'm in for creative writing, this will be moot and silly and completely ridiculous, but for now, and for a long time, there are other things I need to take care of.

I hate that I can't take myself seriously. I hate feeling like I have no control over my life and that I don't have the power to affect change in this world.

So that's what I'm going to do.

And no one is more surprised to hear me talk this way than I am.

--LoKor out