Saturday, May 24, 2008

Typecast #2: In Which I Wonder Why I Bother Writing At All


Strikethru said...

And yet you wrote the whole poem as a first draft, with no typos! I like it! I relate to feeling like I've hit against my potential in certain things, and will never get any better even if I want to. Fortunately it's just a feeling in most cases for most people, and practice always pays off.

Olivander of Collapsing World did some typecast poetry too. I would try it but I am seriously the worst poet in the known universe. One of the things I know I can't improve!

Duffy Moon said...

Don't mean to be rude here, or out of line, but you need to lighten up! Go outside, breathe some fresh air (or whatever passes for it in your part of the country). I suck really bad at lots of things - way worse than you 'suck' at poetry - and yet I continue to do them.
You had the steel guts required to publicly post something you wrote, poetry-wise, and that's something I'll never be able to do.
So, you know, good on you.

Elizabeth H. said...

Strikethru - I cheated, actually. ;-) Handwrote first, and then used my nifty KoRecType tabs in a few spots. I'm really impressed with those little things. They make me look like a good typist. ;-)

Duffy - I guess I just have moments once in awhile where I'm frustrated that I have such a drive to do things I don't seem capable of being truly good at. I mean...a big part of me still holds on to the dream I had at five or six of someday being a famous author. I suppose it could still happen, but a) Although I'm not old, I'm not the sort of young author that tends to break into the scene, b) I'm not all that good (or original), though I can recognize greatness (and mediocrity, for that matter!), and c) (which is probably *the* biggest stumbling block), I'm terrified of someone actually *reading* something I've written. I want them to, but I don't. If that makes any sense at all. I figure a lot of us amateurs probably feel the same way.

And there's also the frustration of trying to put an idea into words. I always feel like I'm terribly clumsy about putting my stories together. I may have some good ideas, but I lack the skill to pull them off in a polished way and with the sort of graceful, detailed language I admire in my favorite authors. I guess that's what I was trying to capture.

mpclemens said...

Have you read Anne Lamott's "Sh*tty First Drafts"? I'd heard nothing but praise for her Bird By Bird book, and as a non-writer going to tackle his second NaNoWriMo this year, I needed inspirational reading. This is exactly that.

Here's a PDF version from a college reader. Excellent, excellent, excellent. This is why I'm doing this year's first draft on a typewriter -- no deleting through the early stuff, and allowing me to refine, revise, and redact all the junk afterwards.

Elizabeth H. said...

I do think NaNo is a big help in getting past a lot of mental blocks. I've done it for years now...five years, I think? I missed completing one year, but generally do OK. The year I missed was one of two where I used only the computer - I seem to do a lot better when I hand write - or type, as I did this past year. With the computer, I tend to write a paragraph, delete it, and sit staring at the blank page. At least when I scratch out handwritten or typed paragraphs, I still have the paragraph for reference and brainstorming purposes... And they make it easier to let go and just think, "Oh well - I'll pretty this up and add more description when I do the next draft."

But I've yet to write anything I think worth letting my family read, let alone inflicting on the world at large. And I still want to write books, for some strange reason. Why??

Thanks for the link! I'll check it out one of these evenings when I'm procrastinating about writing. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Be honest. Have you never read (and probably discarded) something by a famous author that was either lousy or you feel you could have written? Plenty of unsung people could challenge our literary stars. I like your poem. Just the first para was perfect in itself.