Daily Grind

On writing

It’s amazing how bad you can get at something when you don’t practice. Like playing the violin. Or cooking. Or writing. I slacked off because I was starting a small business, and as when I was in college, it’s hard to justify reading and writing for pleasure when you could be studying or making money. In the meantime, the quality of my writing has slowly diminished.

I’m unhappy about that.

Fixing the problem won’t be easy. Writing and reading well take up a lot of time that I could be spending on other things. Like making money. On the other hand, I’ve dreamed about becoming a writer (but not a Creative Type, thankyouverymuch) since Mom gave me a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s “The White Dragon,” when I was in the forth grade. I loved it, of course, but there was this niggling voice in the back of my head, even then, telling me, “Carpenter, you could do better.”

I played around with novel writing during summers spent in Newport News with my grandparents. Early copies were given to my aunt to critique. After reading a twenty-page introduction to my novel, her only advice to my eleven-year old self was “A man and a woman would finish a wrestling match like that by having sex. You don’t know about sex yet, but you will one day.”

In high school, I put my journal on-line, for the whole world to see. I had exactly one reader. Myself.

In college, I kept my journal online, but had many more readers, and caused many more problems. With the advent of the now-defunct Bitter Club, I, several other women, and Phil, found an enormous audience for our occasionally-but-not-often well-written ranting and raving. Alas, with graduation, the Bitter Club was shut down without a bang.

I tried NaNoWriMo a few years ago, while in the Peace Corps. It was a lot of fun, but my efforts were forcibly interrupted by travel and work. And although I’d like to be able to handwrite 1500 words a day, I found it simply too time consuming.

I’ve been blogging for years now, which I swear is entirely non-fiction. Never-the-less, non-fiction isn’t the only itch I’m dying to scratch. We’ll see where this goes, but I’m certain that more writing is in my future, no matter how hard I have to work to fit it into my day.

2 thoughts on “On writing

  1. I am mortified. Your Mom is going to totally smack me for saying such a thing to you at such a young age. I vaugely recall the situation and the story. I remember the story was interesting, and didn’t read like an 11 year old wrote it!

  2. I wouldn’t be too mortified. I think at that point I was already well into her hidden stash of trash novels (yes, Mom, I found the box).

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