Or, Gulp, I Be Guest Blogging Next Week
I have a guest blog post scheduled for the amwriting.org community blog on Tuesday, July 5–a rather important date, actually, it being the one in which all the writers with day jobs return to work hung over from the holiday weekend binge of either (or both) writing or booze, and need something to focus on besides their actual jobs. Hence, the blogosphere and my post.
I also have an invitation from the charming Derek Haines, the word vandal, to write something “informative and entertaining, and funny is a plus” for his blog. Well. Since I am a veritable font of wisdom and a riot and a half, that ought to be no problem whatsoever.
The problem is that I sort of think I am. What? Yes, you heard me. The very last thing I want to do is come off as some sassy-ass know it all, or someone so self-depracating as to be pitiful. The truth is, I have been seriously studying my craft for the past 14 years and have undoubtedly put in my 10,000+ hours to have attained the virtuoso level of writing (whether I am, or not, I will leave to posterity). I may not be Cormac McCarthy (yet), but I’m not an amateur who just decided a month or a year ago to write a novel without ever writing anything before that. But I have no publishing credentials. I have no substantive success (I can’t even get myself drunk off of the proceeds I’ve made thus far, although, to be fair, I could buy myself a drink at this point).
Hhhhhhhh. It’s a delicate balance. You have to sound confident but not arrogant, like you know what you’re talking about but not like a know it all. And, worst of all, you have something interesting to say.
My biggest fear when I was younger and to some extent even now is that I am all style and no substance–that everyone will see through my cleverly strung words and realize that, no, I really don’t have anything interesting to say.
That’s why writing communities exist (and also why they can be dangerous)–writers always, always, like to talk about writing, thus they always have a willing audience in one another on at least one topic.
For any given writer, writing simply is. It exists for you in a way that is unique to you. If your method works for you, then that’s all you need to know. Hearing other people’s methods might help you if you’re struggling, but they might also make you shake your head and say, “Damn, I’m glad I know my own way; that sounds awful!”
The most important point of all is that we write to connect with other people. We write because we want to be read, because not to have an audience is a kind of death (for the record: not my phrase, though I’d happily claim it).
Now I just have to figure out what I want to say. I’m never worried about saying it–what concerns me, for now and into the future as far as a I can see, is what it is I’m saying.