Thursday, March 18, 2010

...I Will Always Be That Nerd...

I am a total nerd who enjoys any learning opportunity, good or bad. As such, this has been a particularly educational week for me after an experience that should have left me upset instead made me excited.

Even though the bulk of my professional experience is in journalism and public relations, my dream in life is to be a published fiction author. I’ve been writing fiction my whole life, but usually it ends up sitting in a box or a drawer somewhere. I have been working to recover some old things that always got a great response and I’m always doing new stuff that I’m looking to sort out and then send out.

So this week when I sat down to take an old idea and rework it into a fable, I was suprised by how well it didn't go. I have never had writer’s block. Usually, I’m running to the computer to try and get the idea out before I lose it, but never have I sat and stared at a screen and thought, “Jeez, this sucks.”

Four (okay seven) pieces of chocolate and a couple of bad paragraphs later, I arrived at the following conclusion:

 My writing is a gift that comes to me in strange and unexpected places, but runs from me if I try to wrangle it.

 Sure, I could see this as a negative thing. What kind of writer can’t just sit down and write? Isn’t imagination the first tool of fiction writing? Perhaps. But years of feedback to my work based on ideas that just came to me versus things I tried to "squeeze out" has shown me that Imagination may not be a free spirit you cannot hold with your hands, but it's pretty to watch it fly.

 Whenever I just write whatever comes to me, I’ve always found the feedback to be positive. Even if the reader doesn’t like it, their reasons for not liking it let me know that they were absorbed by the story and cared about the characters—and that’s positive!  I have been reminded that there is an audience for everything. And I have to not let everything I do or think about die under the weight of scrutiny, perfectionism, or insecurity.

And now, the Top Ten Other Cool Things I Learned this Week

  • I talk to myself. Often. And out loud.
  • The worst thing in the world is to be an extraordinary person doing ordinary things.
  • Almost everyone is extraordinary
  • McDonalds does not sell food; they sell grease disguised as food. (And dirty water disguised as “sweet tea”)
  • A realtor’s idea of a nice neighborhood is anywhere that is predominantly white, even if the area is trashy, dirty and has abandoned properties all over.
  • There is no distinction between “body fat” and “curves” at the doctor’s office.
  • Driving 10 mph over the speed limit will get you there at exactly the same time as driving 10mph under the speed limit. (Sounds impossible, right? Try it. I swear it works. It’s all about the green lights.)
  • Upon further research, it turns out Jazzanova is overrated but the more you dig, the more you find awesome stuff produced by the Neptunes.
  • If you have to remind yourself hourly that you are lucky to still have a job, you’re job probably sucks. (USPS, keep your head up)
  • I apparently look pretty much the same as I did over 15 years ago and can be recognized by very old friends from very long distances.

 Songs stuck in my head this week:

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