Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"W"hy I Can't NOT Write

By J.C. Lynne
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I recently heard Jody Rein speak at a Denver Women's Press gathering about the state of publishing in 2016. She quoted Samuel Johnson, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

She also quoted Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Publishing aside, I think those two statements sum up writing.

Each time I meet new writers, we all have the same quirk. We must write. It doesn't matter the genre. Word count, schmurd count. Published, unpublished. 

Writers must write.

The first question I field as a writer is, "When did you become a writer?" Uh, birth. 

I wrote diaries. I wrote terrible poetry. I wrote abysmal short stories. That doesn't even include academic writing. I didn't start writing un-terrible stuff until high school. 

That's when Perry Weissman dropped into my life. He taught Advanced Expository Writing, into which somehow with my ghastly writing I managed to be placed. My work probably wasn't as awful as I imagine.

Perry Weissman taught me how to write. The course ran as a year-long workshop. We never stopped writing. Turn in a paper and he'd flip it back to you with vast swaths torn out in bloody red ink. PADDING. At the same time my frantic Bic ball point scribbled out the next paper, I'd have to be thinking about revising the previous one or two or three. 

Perry never spared feelings. He brutally told you the way it was in his kind and gentle tone. He forged the core of my passion for writing. If he didn't burn out a student, she or he became a writer. You had to be. 

I process every one of Life's bumps through writing. I'm a storyteller. 

Nothing too personal or embarrassing for me to skip getting it down on paper. Sometimes I feel the words straining to burst from under my ribcage. I must write. Words and ideas ooze from my pores.

Here's the thing. Write it. Whatever IT is. 

The next first thing I hear from folks is, "I've always wanted to write a 'insert something here'." I know some people are just blowing smoke, but some are writers who for reasons unknown have allowed their fear to swamp their impulse.

Not everyone loves my stuff. I have a couple of one or two star reviews. It happens. I let that shite go. Step out on the ledge. Breathe in the air. Write! You may never publish one word, but you'll have it. 

Jody also quoted salary statistics. The average writer salary (among those of us making regular money) is $17, 500.00 dollars. The flip side of that coin is some writers have made millions. 

At this point that 17k looks like the lotto to me. And would I love to hit that best seller list, any best seller list? Buy my book and watch me!

Will I ever quit writing? I can't. It's wound in my DNA. Call me blockhead.

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