Monday, March 16, 2015

I'm writing! WRITING!

   


 Last week, my Friday morning started like any other. I woke up, drank three Red Bulls, then lounged around in bed, reading, until I decided to get up and look at the internet. Only, when I sat down and opened my laptop, instead of going right to Twitter like usual, I opened a Word document and started typing words.

     I don’t know what possessed me. And these were not status update words I was typing, or book talk words. These were fake words. And lots of them. About fake things. A whole fake story started to take place. I hadn’t made up a fake story this quickly since the time I tried to impress my neighbor by telling her that I, at seven years old, had indeed gone to the theater to see the R-rated movie 'Flashdance' on my own, and I could prove it by telling her the plot. (“No, she didn’t drive a Porsche.” “Are you sure you didn’t get up to go to the bathroom during the movie? Because I definitely saw her driving a Porsche.”)

     As a voracious reader, the question people ask me most often, after “What are you reading?” and “Whose blood is that?” is “Are you a writer?” And my answer is always “Nooooooooooo. No, not me. I just read the books.” And it’s true. I mean, yes, I write about books all the time. And, yes, I realize that writing about anything makes you a writer. But in my small brain, I've only ever thought of myself as a reader. Everyone else is doing the real writing. (I'm trying to work past this with Chuck Wendig's handy chart.)

     And I haven’t written made-up stuff in forever. When I was a little kid, I used to write stories all the time, but I haven’t written fiction since I was a freshman (not counting the weight on my license) and I’ve only ever considered myself a professional reader. I even get indignant sometimes when people insist I should write: “What’s wrong with just wanting to be a reader???” Spoiler: Nothing.

     So imagine my surprise when a story started pouring out of my brain. I swear it wasn’t there the day before. Was I happy as I typed? Honestly? No. I was terrified. What was happening to me??? My boyfriend entered the room as I was typing and said the look on my face was one of sheer panic. The word count went up: 300. 750. 1,200. I was afraid to stop. “I’m writing! I’M WRITING!” I said, doing my best imitation of Bill Murray on the boat in 'What About Bob?'

     This elation quickly turned back to panic, and at one point I stood up, sure I was about to be sick to my stomach. Something must have happened to me overnight. I searched for an explanation: The cats poured something strange in my ears. I was struck by lightning through the window. I had a stroke in my sleep. I couldn't figure it out. Where did this story come from? I’m a reader, not a writer! But on I typed. Maybe I was still having a stroke.

     Several hours later, at 3,500 words, I stopped, worried that it was too good to be true, and that I would ruin the magic if I pressed on. I showed my boyfriend what I had so far. “This is the beginning of a real book!” he said. Which made me want to throw up all over again.

     I finally understand what writers are always on about. I feel like I’ve been transported to a different land where I’m just starting to learn the language, and I have so many questions! I haven’t gone back to my story yet, for fear of not being able to write any more. But I want to! I have been googling writing advice, and I have learned that everyone has a different opinion on what to do next. “Let it sit until you’re ready.” “Write 750 words a day, no matter what.” “Ask for feedback.” “Don’t show it to anyone until you’re done.” My head is dizzy.

     What I do know is that I am happy to be in this new land, and I’m excited about the adventure, even if I only have one stamp on my passport. I think I can get the hang of it here. I’M WRITING!

     Now excuse me while I go throw up. 

1 comment:

  1. YAY! (not about the throwing up—about the writing)

    ReplyDelete