Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I don't want to be a paperback writer

I like to write. I would like to do so professionally. However, when people inquire about my career goal, I never say "I want to be a writer" because that is easily misconstrued. I say "I want to be someone who writes something" which is as vague as my ambition and, more importantly, steers minds clear of unintended connotations.

You see, I don't want to write novels or poems or whatever thing it is that fits this stereotypical typewriter-key-clacking, tweed-jacket-wearing vision of a writer that people have. I have written fiction--short stories here and there, a poem or two in my angsty teenage years. But it's not something I really enjoy doing or would ever want to depend upon financially, primarily because I have no good ideas. I think if someone gave me their idea, I could write the proverbial poop out of it. But that, my friends, is not generally how people want to do things, and if you ever asked ME to come up with a lengthy piece of fiction--with characters and plot points and a climax and a denouement--you'd be sadly disappointed by the result.

(Also, don't give me your ideas because I think I just admitted I'd steal them.)

Aside from fiction, I would--as my vague ambition suggests--write pretty much anything. Manuals, website copy, book blurbs, entertaining fake news, anything. I get the sense that a lot of people who want to write want to be expressing themselves. I don't care about that. I express myself all the time. Too much, probably. I just want to play with words. And work with words. And take extended vacations on private islands with words. I love them that much.

I get the kind of satisfaction out of finding just the right phrase that I imagine a hurdler gets out of clearing a jump. I enjoy the writing process (although the quality of this blog suggests that I more likely just spit these posts out like text-based diarrhoea and then flush them away into the Internets, I actually do have a writing process) and I never get bored with it. I never procrastinate about it. There is no part of sitting down with a paper and pen and turning an idea into words that I don't love more than I could ever love even the perkiest perk of any other job.

I just wanted to say that. Put it out there. Not in a The Secret kind of way. That is bunk-aloney (which is doubly fictitious and fallacious). I am not asking the universe for anything. I'm just saying that's what I want to do. I want to be someone who writes something.

I've gotta work on conclusions, though.


  1. Though they aren't the only thing I want to or would limit myself to writing, for the sake of not having people give my the "YOU FUCKING NUTBAG" look, I narrowed my answer down to something akin to

    "Currently, as a freelance writer, I chose from different projects. That's part of freelancing- if something looks interesting, I can choose to pursue it. I currently work on x, y, & z." (Ummm even if they were past projects because around here people seem to think if you aren't working yourself to DEATH, you are a lazy asshole fucking the system.)

    OR I answer with, "I am working on some private projects. The areas I'd like to write in are x, y, and z. But if an interesting opportunity presents itself elsewhere I'm open to it and if I can take it, then I will."

    Like, for example, since I am in development of a super awesome secret, AWESOME project, I've had time to take on being a lit researcher- free lance- for a friend as she works to do a huge symphonic composition based on Lakota Oral tradition. The joy of freelance? I can choose to take that project! I am my own bitch as boss!

  2. That does sound pretty awesome! You have the advantage of actually being working as a writer, though, whereas I, so far, don't, so I sound like a tool being all like "yeah, I just wanna write stuff, like, you know..."

    Good for you!!