I’ve been doing this daily blog for 294 days now. I don’t remember even half the stuff I’ve written, since, for the most part, the quotidian defogging-my-brain thing is the first thing I do, often while I am caffeinating for the day. I am fully aware that a few bits are clever, and a whole lot are pretty fucking awful. But this started as an exercise to get me writing something, anything, every day. I don’t plan on quitting any time soon, even if the ‘fucking awful’ seems to creep in more often than I would like.
Writing a bit (or a lot) in this way for almost 300 days in a row is beyond what I expected (I’m not good at follow-through on projects), but not nearly as impressive as, say, Richard Herring, and he writes a lot more per day than I do. He also takes time to look things over properly and edit before posting, unlike me. Well, he does writes professionally for television, radio, and stage. And performs in things that he writes. I’ve been listening to his Edinburgh podcast lately, which is generally fairly off the cuff and yet extremely funny. He GETS it. And is (clearly) far more naturally clever than I am. Of course, he’s been at this a long time (his daily online ramblings started on November 25, 2002, he’s done 25 Edinburgh Fringes, has written books, and pops on television rather often).
My childhood friend Ruth has been writing plays since about 1993. She has an MFA in Playwriting. Her plays get performed, and she reads other people’s plays in order to produce them with her theatre company. She also teaches playwriting at the college level. Her husband is also a writer, and has been one professionally for about 16 years, and dabbled for many, many years before that.
This people clearly have goals with their writing projects.
I have a blog.
So do approximately 900 squillion other people.
Should I be aiming higher? Where the hell should I be going with this? I don’t have 20 years to master the craft like they did. But I am so doubtful and Piglet-y that I never knew where to begin.
I’ve always been too shy to actually have people read fiction I’ve written (and I really haven’t written any in decades), I have never taken a creative writing class, but, at one point I did have a specific goal.
I know! Me with a goal! That really doesn’t happen often!
However, as my history with Big Plans (don’t ask me about half-marathon training or whether I memorized the periodic table yet) is generally fraught with problems of focus, I couldn’t sit and write things like plot or dialogue, but came up with detailed character histories (over the course of years), none of them particularly good. Unfortunately, as I was attempting to write a radio play/pilot for a regular BBC competition, that wasn’t enough. I had short scenes floating in my head, but no idea how to incorporate them into a greater plot. Also, I had no idea if anything I was coming up with was funny.
See, comedians and people with formal training get to test material in useful ways, to hone in on what works and what doesn’t, by letting others read it, perform it, and critique it. That makes their work better. It also creates mini-deadlines to which they have to adhere, because other people are waiting on what they are doing. Slave-drivin’, except not, because they (largely) love doing it.
Because I’m such a coward, the very idea of this is arse-achingly terrifying. Because I am lazy, I am shit at adhering to any deadlines I set for myself. So, over the last little while, I have been peeking around the internet for creative writing classes and local writers’ groups. I have made no actual attempts at contacting any of them.
(Perhaps I should also look for a cognitive behavioural therapist to address my issues with goal-meeting and disorganization too. Oof.)
The trouble is, because I want to be a comedy writing type, but have no inclination to perform, I don’t really belong in a writing circle for people trying to write novels or local comedy/improv groups’ classes. I don’t know where I lie on the spectrum in between. Somewhere around green, I imagine. I need a green writing class. And with my lack of experience, that’s somehow appropriate, don’t you think?
Or should I go to the other way, to longer wavelengths, because radiowaves are nearer that bit?
I think I ought to give up this weak metaphor altogether.
If one has never written for other people (except not-terribly-anonymously on the internet), how does one get rid of the fear of bad feedback? All feedback has the potential to be useful, but as my ‘dream’ is to write funny things for radio in another country, how do I find the right people (peers or instructors) to help?
Of course, as I’m pretty broke right now, classes might be out of the question for the time being. So, I think I might not feed the cat each day until I finish x number of words in a project. His whining’ll get me working faster or drive me completely bananas. Either option might be useful for writing comedy, right?