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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

To Write or Not to Write - That is the Question

What a great day we had on the Rouge Wave yesterday! We had a dust up, a kerfuffle, an apology and an explanation - AND two writers are getting cupcakes delivered personally. It doesn't get better than that! Today we have another great blog from our resident coolchick, PJ McIlvaine:


There seems to be a virus going around some of the message boards I frequent. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call it the “what does it mean to be a writer” bug. Quite honestly, it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to because I’ve always been busy, you know…writing.

From my earliest memory, I’ve considered myself to be a writer. Writing to me is like breathing. It’s innate in me, like my DNA. I have brown hair; I’m a writer. Sure, when I was a kid I toyed with the idea of being a nurse, doctor, fireman, President, lawyer, baker, but these flirtations were brief and fleeting and not very satisfactory.

Now that I’m supposedly grown up, I wear other hats: Mommy, Wife, Daughter, but no matter what I happen to be doing now, I’m writing. Now it’s true that at various stages of my life, I’ve been distracted or waylaid by circumstances; sometimes I had to put my writing on hold. But even when I wasn’t writing, I still thought of myself as a writer. I’ve never really thought of myself as anything else.

My kids always saw me writing. I remember the time when they were in elementary school and I got finagled to address one of my daughter’s classes on the subject. I’m not quite sure the teacher knew what she was getting into, but I managed to enthrall the class with a short story I’d written about a boy who switched places and planets with his alien equivalent (I toned down the more horrific aspects of my story). I stressed the importance of creativity and imagination, and the kids seemed to enjoy my pep talk. So much so, that months later, my kids and I were shopping at the local market when I heard a little girl’s voice ring out: “Mommy, that’s the imagination lady!” Everybody in the place looked at me like I was a piece of lox at the deli.
However, it does seem to me that an inordinate amount of writers seem to spend more time worrying about writing than actually, you know…writing. Some have very legitimate and logical reasons that prevent them from writing or devoting as much time to writing as they’d like: kids, life, work, illness, finances, etc. I understand. There was a time when I could barely eke out a paragraph in between changing diapers.

But I really believe that where there is a will, there is a way. It just may take awhile to find it. I’m very determined (those who know me even say obsessed. Or possessed). I made writing a priority. Sometimes that meant rising at six in the morning so I could write a couple of pages before getting the kids off to school. I wrote while I was sick or the kids were sick, through my mother’s surgery, through my husband’s hospitalization, through my brother’s suicide. I forced myself to write when I had no inspiration or even when I didn’t particularly feel that I had anything worthwhile to write about. I kept writing through rejection and doubt and fear. And it’s hard. It’s incredibly hard. But it is what it is and I am what I am. Everything I’ve learned about screenwriting (and writing, for that matter) has been though my own blood, sweat and tears. Maybe there were things I could have done (like take that famous screenwriting guru’s offer to help me…for five thousand dollars) or regret (not moving to California when I had the opportunity), but I’m still here. I’m still plugging away each and every day.

So, yes, I’m a writer, and, you know…I’m very happy to be one. Most especially when I get a WGA residual check (thank you, Germany).

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1 comment:

Timo said...

Finally we are good for someone.

;-) Timo from Germany