Monday, May 26, 2014

All I Can Do

“Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we?”

Terri Guillemets

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”

Joseph Heller

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers — they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.”

Sinclair Lewis

While reading On Writing, by Stephen King, I wondered if I was doing all I can do to reach my goals.  Several other questions occurred to me.  As I write perhaps I will, or will not, arrive at some answers:
Am I a writer?
Am I a good writer?
Am  I a great writer?
Do I need to be a great writer?
Or do I only need to be good enough to make a living at this?
Can I make a living at this?
Am I being pretentious, calling myself a writer because I think it sounds cool or gives me some kind of identity?
Am I disciplined enough?
Is my goal to write or to make money?
What kind of writing do I want to do?
Should I be open to anything?
Why did the last two paid assignments I had end up in frustration for me?
That’s all the questions I have for now.  To answer the first, I am definitely a writer.  I say this because I write.  I write almost every day.  In the last year and a half, I have written over 1,000 pages either by hand or in my blogs.    As long as I keep writing, I’m a writer. 
To answer the second question, I’m a good writer.  I don’t know if I’m a great writer.  I’m not Shakespeare, but do I need to be?  What do I want?
I want to live in my house on the beach with my Muse.  Stephen King says his muse (no capital) is a surly old guy who smokes cigars and acknowledges him with only the occasional grunt.  My Muse is a beautiful flower of a woman.  While she doesn’t grunt at me, she doesn’t say a lot until she’s sure I’m committed to doing my work.  Sometimes she speaks as soon as I begin writing, but most of the time she waits.  If she does speak, she gives me a germ of an idea and then says, “Get to work, lazy one.”  She says it with a smile, but she’s serious.  She’s nothing if not unpredictable.  Still, I love her and I want to spend my life with her.  So here I sit.
Reading King’s book is not unlike having cold water thrown on my face.  According to him, I’m not reading or writing nearly enough.  I’m proud of the one book a week I read.  King thinks I should be reading about one-and-half times that..  Someone else said to make 300 books a goal.  In his article, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself, James Altucher says to read 500 books.  His response to those who say they can’t? 
“Give up.”
But I can’t give up.  This is too important.  If I don’t do this, if I don’t give this every ounce of effort, if I don’t get my house, if I don’t get my Muse, then I am a failure. There is no Plan B.  I’m not trying to be dramatic, but my life and my happiness depends on this.  This is why I was born.  In fact, before I was born, God whispered this assignment into my ear and He said, "Go find your Muse."  
The only thing He didn’t give me was a guarantee of success.  He did say, however, that as long as I don’t give up unless I’m dead, then I should be fine.
So I feel like I need to up my game.  I need to work harder.  Yes, I’ve done a lot.  But it’s time to move forward.  I know what I need to do.  I know how much more time I need to put into my reading and writing. 
And here’s the thing:  I’ll take this gladly.  I’ll read more.  I’ll write more.  I’ll get up earlier.  I’ll spend more time in this chair with my Muse.  I’ll make sure I’m reading or listening to books every chance I get.  The truth is I want to do this.  I want to read more.  I want to spend my life with my Muse in my house on the beach. I want this!  What else is there but my destiny?
I still don’t have all my answers.  I don’t know what books I should read, but I’ll read what interests me.  I don’t know what kind of writing to do, so I’ll write what my Muse tells me to write.  I’ll keep working until the answers reveal themselves.  I’ll Get Started and I’ll Keep Going…because that’s all I can do.