Sunday, October 31, 2010

To be Inspired

I was once told that in order to write, you must get over the fact that you have nothing to write about and write anyway. That, even if you have a writer's block, writing about that will therefore mean you don't have it.

For the past two years, I have been unable to pick up a pen and write something that I thought was worthwhile. Considering the ever booming internet with it's Facebook and more blogging than ever thought possible, I felt that for me to write something was to write something that was already done and said, so why add my mantra?

It took a while for me to realize that this wasn't who I was. I've always added my mantra, or opinion, or two cents (accumulating to over a quarters worth as the years continue).

And writing made me happy. It has been a part of who I am since I can ever remember. Books fascinated me. As a child, my father would read to me before bed, books such as The Big Orange Splot, or The Contests at Cowlick, using voices to create characters I now remember even at the age of 23. My father can still recite Yertle the Turtle when I ask him (which, when I do, he shakes his head and tells me that I "can't be serious". But then he does when I start off and ask how the rest goes).

During my elementary years, I was told to be a good student, but wasn't always paying attention because I would be reading while the teachers gave their speech about addition and subtraction (In my defense, I already knew and figured my time would be better used in an imaginary world rather than blankly staring at a person and waiting for the five students who weren't fully understanding the process to lie and say they got it so we could all move on to the next subject.) My favorite time in elementary was when we could make our own books. We'd write a story, pictures and all. The library would help us make covers out of fabric pasted on cardboard, then would help us to bind the book. I would have made fifty by the end of the day, had the teacher not insisted on moving onto the next subject, and that they also didn't have enough supplies.

When our computer was upgraded from the silly floppy disk hangman game to an internet dial-up machine just before my teens began, I quickly discovered I could use a program to type up what I was thinking, which was much faster than writing down my million-a-minute thought process (my parents always said my brain was going much faster than my mouth could speak). I began my first "novels", which consisted of taking ideas from my most liked subjects and trying my hand at creating it myself.

I'm happy to announce the probably lawsuit material cannot be seen as the computer crashed and broke (thank God, as I'm sure it could be used as proper blackmail, the stuff was so horrid).

Hours were spent on that computer. I'd write before I went to school, after I came home from school until dinner, and then after dinner until my father would tell me that , yes, I had to go to bed, as it was two in the morning.

College changed that.

Despite my love for writing, I originally thought my career would take me into an acting path. I loved theatre, and even spent my junior and senior years devoted at an arts high school. After writing as I normally do for a class, a teacher came to me and asked if I considered taking a few more classes on writing, as I had a unique and fun style. One semester in and I changed my major.

Theatre is like a mask, I found. Everybody works together, and the show can't go on without everybody doing their part. And yet, the other side is like a competition, where, behind the scenes, there was more drama than what was on stage.

Writing was different. I found that most of what I liked about theatre was the story being told, and where an actor couldn't get across a character, a book could. And so went the next four years after my first year writing. I added on film, so I could direct and create visually as well.

Frankly, I got burnt out. Toward the end of that path, I began to really look at myself in comparison to others. I had chosen a career path that went distinctly on a person's whim. I could write my whole life and have people say, "You're all very good, but we're looking for something with more vampires, and possibly zombies. Yes, zombies would be good." or "We love how you phrase things, but we aren't looking for someone with a sarcastic and quip-like writing." And I noticed other people's writing, where they got such great ideas for short stories.

I stopped writing because I decided it was easier to not even try rather than set myself up for disappointment.

Except it became hard, difficult even, for me to not write. I would constantly think about writing, but would never write. I would think up lines and wish I would just write them down for later use. I would smile after a conversation as I thought of how it would be in a paragraph, or how it could become a short story. But after not writing for a good few months, I couldn't grab the pen to write because that would be giving in and accepting a defeat I didn't even have yet.

People say they found themselves in college; I lost myself. It took graduating for me to begin to find myself again.

When I'm asked what I do, I say I write. I make films, and I write. My job isn't writing, which is what it became in school. My job is something I have on the side to make money so I can continue to do what I love, the way I love it, until somebody's whim says they like what I have to offer.

Slowly, but surely, I have become okay with this.

Random Fact: Plants can suffer from jet lag.

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