Writers are pricks.
Of course, I’m not one of them. I’m barely a writer. That is, when you compare my process and body of work to them, I’m barely a writer.
So I guess that means I’m not really a prick, which is good, because I was among a bunch of pricks on Saturday and all I kept thinking was I don’t like these people. I wish they’d just shut up so I could get back to writing. Fuckin’ pricks.
I felt very uncomfortable.
Seattle7Writers is a group of (published/successful) people who do good things for good people. They host fundraisers—like the one I went to on Saturday, called Write Here, Write Now—and they give the proceeds to literacy organizations. That was a huge incentive to participate in the event. Write Here, Write Now is an all-day writers’ conference, but it’s not really a conference. You listen to a ten minute talk on writing, then the clock starts and you write for 45 minutes. The buzzer rings and you stop. Take a five minute break, listen to another writer talk about something else and repeat. All in the company of 100+ strangers.
I wrote hard. If you could break out in a sweat from writing so hard I would have. I would’ve reeked of B.O. by the end of the day. Thankfully, that’s not possible, so I went home smelling roughly the same way I smelled when I left. (Except for the fact that, walking to the car, I opened my coffee cup to dump the remains on the sidewalk and instead spilled it all over my hoodie. So I reeked of stale coffee—the B.O. of a writer, maybe.)
The day really was productive. I wrote more than I’ve written in quite a while and, most importantly, I walked away fired up, ready to write and write and write myself into a new life.
I want to go ZOOM, as my friend Ant would say. I feel like I’m on a precipice, ready to jump into something big.
But I’m stuck. I don’t know what that Something Big is. I don’t know what I want to do exactly. I know this: I want creative stimulation. I want to be among writers. I want to teach fiction writing. I want to live the writer’s life. All without becoming a prick.
At the event on Saturday I heard author after author say the same thing: if you want to be successful (e.g. published and widely read), you have to write every day. You have to make space for yourself. And if you want to be even better, you have to commit yourself to your writing full time.
They spoke, of course, from places of great privilege. And that’s one reason they’re pricks.
They were all very happy with themselves, very proud of what they’d accomplished. And I don’t blame them; I’d be pretty damn proud of myself if I was on the NYT bestseller list.
But I’d also be pretty damn proud of myself if I was self-published, if my work was being read on a Kindle in by someone in a coffee shop somewhere (in spite of how much I dislike e-readers). I’d be pretty damn proud if I got an acceptance somewhere. I’d be pretty damn proud if I had a finished project to send out. I’d be pretty damn proud if I wrote every single day. I’d be proud if I built a desk for myself and sat at it four days a week and wrote.
I’m pretty damn proud of myself for going to that event, for writing in 45-minute bursts, for producing so much, for getting so fired up, for recognizing who I am and what I want to be.
I’m pretty damn proud of myself for recognizing what a prick is and knowing that I don’t want to be one.
The fucking end.