I’m not the only one who had dreams of writing “the great American novel.” Having a penchant for drawing also gave me dreams of writing the great American comic book, too (sort of like Dave Sim’s great Canadian comic book Cerebus). God knows I’ve had many false starts. Such works take commitment, though.
And, as the expression goes (which, oddly enough, I first heard in Throw Momma From the Train), “a writer writes always.” Or, as Dave Sim says, “everyone has about 1000 bad pages in them that they have to get out before they can be good,” and if you don’t believe him, just compare the artwork and stories from the first 25 issues of Cerebus to the next 25 issues.
Writers write. That’s what makes them so good—practice. How did I become good at drawing? Practice. Did I have some natural talent? Sure. But that’s not how I became good. And I know plenty of people without natural talent in drawing, who perservered and practiced and became amazing drawers. One of the most inspiring books I read about writing is Stephen King’s On Writing, which is part writer’s-advice-book and part autobiography. The one thing that really stuck with me about the book is that Stephen King, through all his trials and tribulations, rejections, and periods of poverty never questioned whether he should write or not. It didn’t matter to him whether the story he’d written was garbage or not, whether he and/or his wife liked the story he wrote. He just wrote. He felt the need to write. This is musician Sara Bareilles talking about her songs:
I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember. Some of them make me happy and some of them are shit, but all of them come because I can’t imagine what else to do with my head and the things that are in it besides write songs.
That is what it’s all about. You do it, and you do it. You don’t stop because you produce something bad. You just keep producing.
Much as I sometimes I enjoy fiction-writing or music-producing (singing/playing), I don’t feel that same drive to always write fiction or to always make music. I do have a ton of random non-fiction thoughts always swishing around in my brain, and I feel the need to spill them out onto a page and share them with the world. I think I’m a blogger. I think that’s it. I don’t have the coherency a traditional non-fiction hardcover book would demand of me. I do have a million thoughts on random issues, though, and I like to write them down. That’s what I do. I write. I write a ton of crap. In a blog. That’s what I do.