This is the motto of a writing group I belong to. We are a group of writers trying to hemorrhage out our words into the universe for others to read; whilst still trying to give each other the push we sometimes need to keep going… although most of the time I just sit quietly in awe of the writers I am surrounded by… Real writers. Writers that make the whole process look easy because of their absolute brilliance and great editing ha-ha. I mean think about it. A whole group of your peers shouting to write free and don’t let your fear get in the way of all the naysayers.
I love this saying, I mean as a writer how can I not? I try to remember it often as I am scribbling out my words…but what does that really mean? Can I truly write free when in the back of my mind I am shouting like a heckling troll that I suck?
“What will people think if I say that?”
“What if they hate what I wrote and it’s a complete and total flop?”
“What if they point and laugh and tell me not to quit the day job? I don’t even have a day job!”
What if they sit there judging me…I mean…I’m no Stephen King, although I have written some pretty awesome short stories that I have never shared with anyone but…
Write free mother fuckers!
I have taken many long and arduous sabbaticals in my writing career, but just like quitting smoking and chocolate, I always end up back at the keyboard pounding away about this or that.
The words finally taking over and needing to be said.
The other night while drinking (only the bartender knows how many vodka monsters and tuaca shots at the bar) a guy walked up in all his drunken glory and shouted, “Hey, I saw you had a blog [gulp]). I found it on your Facebook! I think I can do that, it looks simple enough I mean…it looks easy enough right?”
I groaned inwardly trying compose myself while of course thinking this really can’t be happening. Sure, there are times I talk about my blog, because duh, at the bar I am usually three sheets to the wind and my mouth always picks that moment to vomit out what I do, but hey…that’s not all I do. I am not just a blogger. Blogging is just like…practice. Like exercise for my brain. You need to write every day to better your craft…think of it as a journal if you will. A way to keep the brain thinking and the fingers moving. Sure, anyone can do it, but that doesn’t mean that what I do is easy (God do I wish it was that easy) and it definitely doesn’t mean that even if they do decide to give blogging a whirl, they would then become the next JR Rowling making millions. Writing is hard work, and extremely personal.
“Do you even get paid? Because I don’t see why you are wasting time with something you do not get paid for, seems stupid if you ask me!”
I didn’t ask…
Write Free Motherfuckers!
It’s not about getting paid… it’s about ripping off layers of skin to show parts of yourself. It’s about letting go of all the doubt and fear while putting pieces of your soul into each word.
Every day I stare at the keyboard typing away…I am my own worst critic, which leads to 90% of my work getting trashed or put on the back burner; because it’s not something I like, or maybe because it really is so terrible that even my brilliant editor can’t fix it (Which I am sure he is now worried I might send those to him just to give him more work…come to think of it, that might be a fantastic idea, ha-ha).
A few years ago I started a novel, it was one of the biggest things I had ever done. Parts of it were entered in a publishing house competition. It won! However, after a long drawn out process of bullshit I didn’t care for, the contract was ripped up and I moved on while drowning myself in a few bottles of wine. Think of it as a writer throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler; because someone wanted to change the entirety of what they wrote. However, even after that, one thing I did gain from that whole experience was someone actually gave me a little confidence. See, your family and friends will lie to you and tell you they loved what you wrote…but a publishing house will never sugar coat anything; if you suck they don’t feel badly about telling you so…They told me they really dug it, and that, my friends, is probably one of my proudest moments. Yet, buttoning it up and rewriting some to resubmit somewhere else…yeah, I haven’t felt confident enough for that just yet. Baby steps.
Okay, so back to where I was going with this whole rant… Writing free isn’t easy. I mean, look how all over the place I have been in just this one post! Even I feel my neck getting sore from the whiplash. Writers get stuck on what other people might think, instead of writing what they really want too. So just like honing their own writing skill, writing free takes practice. Lots of it.
So the next time you take time to read someone’s words, think about how hard it was for them to get that out. Know that not one part of the process was easy. Know that even some of the most brilliant writers out there still doubt themselves sometimes.
And if you’re a writer….Walk away and just Write Free Mother Fucker!