Archive for October, 2007


On writing

October 30, 2007

With National Novel Writing Month almost upon us, it reminds of something:

I am not a writer.

I’ve always liked the idea of being a writer. It’s a pretty romantic career, theoretically. I like the thought of having so many brilliant things stuffed into my head that I just had to commit them to paper. Sadly, this has never been the case. My characters are flat. I don’t know what to do with them. I can’t take them anywhere for more than a page or two. It seems like I’ve only been able to write essays for classes.

But even school writing was always a challenge for me. Were I to start at a reasonable time, properly researching and producing a thesis first and all those things we’re taught is how you write a paper, I’d read it before I turned it in and absolutely hate it. However, if I waited until the night before, huddled over our electric typewriter, squinting at the desk lamp until past one*, I could crank out something amazing. I could always use the excuse that I waited until the last minute for the poor quality, but the fact was I got a good grade on just about every paper in high school.

But what quality is school writing, anyway? How much of it is actual quality, and how much of it is producing what the teacher wants to read? I struggled with that any time I sat down to write, and usually tried to do a mix of the two. There’s comfort and ease in writing the status quo for papers. Venturing out into my own turf inevitably left me unsatisfied and short for words.

I prefer to think of myself as an editor instead of a writer. I love to take something that already exists and improve on it, highlighting the good parts and disguising or changing the bad. I always volunteer to proof people’s papers, even emails. I’d love to get a side gig as an editor, but don’t even know where to start. I won’t even start on whether or not I’d have time to do such a thing, either.

So if anyone needs something proofread, let me know! I only charge in foodstuffs.

* I was a boring kid – I was usually in bed by ten thirty until I turned 18.