I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for over thirty years and, for just as long, a devotee of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My fervid belief, consumption, adoption, and adaptation of these products in my life have been a part of my life for four decades. I’m not well read in the Classics, yet, I can rattle off an obscure Adamsian phrase like a shot. My schooling in philosophy isn’t much, so I rely on the wily cynicism found in Hitchhiker’s and the darker Who stories. I feel like a hollow person, if I really wear my self-deprecating brain. I’m a chocolate egg; delicious and enjoyable but nothing except stagnant air when the shell is cracked.
My writing is very florid and well-worded, and yet, I’m not a published author beyond freebies I’ve given to various websites in hopes of padding out a writing resume. Indeed, I sit here, mere weeks from the age of 47 and find nothing upon which to hold this foundation of Being A Writer from the wrecking waves of time.
In short, I do not write enough. And what I do write tends to be blisteringly self-critical. There is nothing romantic about writing, for sure. It can be a very difficult process, indeed, especially in generating ideas worth writing about. I sympathize with the renowned lady of letters Dorothy Parker when she opined, “I hate writing. I love to have written.” Terry Pratchett echoed this sentiment as well in a post on the Usenet group alt.fan.pratchett:
Here’s a tip, though. Successful writers don’t pass the MS around to all their friends after they’ve done five pages; they get a grip on grammar, punctuation and spelling (even if accurate fast typing escapes their grasp:-); if they work in a genre, they read widely outside that genre; they get hold of one of the vast number of books which, while of variable quality as far as actual writing advice goes, are usually pretty sound on the mechanics of getting agents, submitting MSS and so on; and they want to WRITE. Too many people want to *have written*.
Funny note, I actually tracked down the original Usenet post that the last, much missed, and very dead Sir Terry made on this subject. Usenet of old, I miss you. You were so much fun.
In our society, to be a writer, you merely have to write. To be a thinker, you think. To be a drinker, you run up a high bar tab. As long as you have ideas, you can keep going. And going. And write. And write more.
And so it goes.
However, I do need to take the imagery by it metaphors and write more. Every day. Not just wimpy, limpy little entries like this but something big and bold and brash and blonde. Perhaps, not blonde but alas, I needs must figure out a way to stuff my chocolate egg full of thick, rich, and creamy fortitude.
The words. Get them out. Make them work. Repeat. Here endeth this episode of The Impostor Syndrome.
And so we bleat on…