Screaming Into the Void

So my goal is every other Thursday, I’m throwing up a new blog post. Despite really having just launched this website, my original blog post was written two weeks ago, and in the interest of discipline I’m going to go ahead and post a new one now.

And in the interest of me being who I am, I’m already a day late with my own self-imposed schedule.

I figure that this blog would best serve as some sort of horrific timeline of a dude wanting to become a writer. A thing for me to, down the road, look back on and cringe. And extra cringe knowing I made it public. Well, sorta public I guess. Hi again, mom!

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I wrote my first novel at 17, re-wrote it entirely at 19, and wrote a second novel around 20-21. (They’re both garbage. You probably guessed that.) My first ‘published’ story was for some forum that was offering $25 for short stories. I think I was 16-17. I don’t even recall if I actually edited it, or if I literally banged it out and hit ‘send’. They posted it and mailed me the check.

That was a cruel first sense of standard to receive about my writing. Because that story was probably garbage too. But at the time, I took it as validation.

I did get away from writing in my mid 20’s through early 30’s. I banged out a few ideas for novels, did some scenes and chapters here and there, stuff like that. Goofy shorts for my friends. But around 32 or so, I decided I wanted to take it seriously. It began with me pulling the idea of a Western I’d worked on previously and getting it together. I got about a third of the way through when I realized ‘yikes, I don’t think I was as good at this as I previously thought’.

So it was time to, you know, work on that. I scoured the internet for writing activities and tips. Starting reading Writer’s Digest, and went down the rabbit hole of #WritingTwitter.

Just as I was about gassed out on that second part, realizing that, uh, Following Spree! and No Impostor Syndrome Here! were less useful than a tomato sauce soaked paper towel at a cleaning party, I randomly stumbled across the mention of a writing group, namely The Inkubator.

Holy hell. It was like when Bruce Banner went into the gamma chamber and lived happily ever after (I think that’s what happened, I’m a bit hazy on the details). I came across writers of astounding ability and infinite patience who were more than willing to absolutely trash my work, shred every word, take the last bare threads of my dignity and light them in a gasoline-soaked pyre.

It was amazing.

See, I don’t actually like cheerleading. That’s not a knock on the practice, nor on those who do take something from it. But for me, it does nothing. I don’t want to be told I’m good. I want to be told what I’m bad at, and ergo what I need to fix to become great. (To be clear, when I joined the group, I wasn’t ‘good’. At all.)

So let’s fast forward this rambling, meandering, and otherwise adjective filled fiasco to the now. About a year into this writing group, and after a previous year or so of trying to hone my craft on the solo, I now have the confidence to submit shorts to magazines, and am halfway through my editing rounds with a new novel. We’ll see where it all goes.

My confidence is back, so it’s a matter of getting the wind knocked out again.

Onward and forward!

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