Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kicking Your Younger Self in the Butt

By Rich

Dear Younger Self,

I realize it may take some time to read this on your AOL account due to the constant drops and reconnects from your 128k baud modem, but I wanted to write you concerning some past issues I have with you in the future. Or is it current problems I see in your past from my future? Stupid time paradoxes!

Yes, I know you're enthralled with that new comedy about six beautiful twenty-somethings who spend their days at a coffee house; however, while you sit in front of your, egad, analog television, your computer is feeling neglected. Other than playing the Windows 95 version of Solitaire, you aren't using it for the main reason you charged nearly one thousand dollars to your credit card - to write.

Oh, you have the ideas. Heck, they constantly crash into your frontal lobe at all hours of the day; sometimes as complete stories. Yet, you sit in front of the keyboard, blandly staring at the blinking icon of your word processing program. In a few minutes, you get distracted, give up, and sulk toward a large bowl of macaroni and cheese to soothe the feelings of fear and failure welling up inside you. By the way, I have to talk to you about your intake of carbohydrates and starches.

Here's the deal, younger self - you're a writer, and not someone who wishes they were one. You have the great ability to build characters and worlds and put them in words for all to see. It's a true gift, and you're wasting it every day your ever-growing butt sits on the couch laughing at the beautiful twenty-somethings. You need to turn off the television, get some exercise, and let the muse take over your body. Trust me, I've done it for years now and it's quite the rush. You're going to fail, but as you will eventually learn from your numerous rejections and your time in Improv, you don't have to fear it. You need to take a breath, dust your hands off, and start on another project that will lead to success.

So, get on your Compaq and start writing. For subject matter, consider the story of an orphan boy wizard and his years at magic school. Or a dystopian tale about a competition where teens have to kill each other to win. Or a romance about very attractive vampires and werewolves, and the women who love them. Just saying, of course.

If you had the opportunity, what would you tell your younger self?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Rich. I would tell my younger self to quit fooling around. I stupidly wasted so much time when I was young.

Tonja said...

OMG - Awesome post! So true.

Kerrie said...

I would tell my younger self there is life after marching band and to journal. A lot of interesting, funny and even heart wrenching things will happen, making great fodder for stories 20 years later--but they need to be written down.

Unknown said...

I would tell the younger me to sign with the top NYC literary agent who very much wanted to represent the thirty-something me. I thought I didn't need an agent then, which I didn't. Several decades and a dozen and a half books later, when I was ready to start being a novelist, I couldn't get an agent to save my life.

I would be tempted to say, "Keep writing. Don't give up. Keep learning" But that advice would have been unnecessary, because, although I gave up many times, I never stopped writing or learning how to write. So here I am, in a new career as a successful novelist--and still no agent.

--Larry Constantine (Lior Samson:

Lynn said...

That's hysterical - AOL indeed. We have come a long way, haven't we?

I would tell my younger self that the hormones will eventually subside, the pleasing-everybody-at-all-costs anxieties will lessen, and you'll have more fun than you ever thought possible sitting alone in a room, typing.

My younger self would roll her eyes and say, "I don't THINK so."

Truth is, I just wasn't ready until I hit fifty :)

Maegan Tintari said...

I love this.

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